Background and Aim
It is essential to take action to strengthen the national primary health care (PHC) system. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive review to find ways to strengthen the PHC system in Iran based on the experiences of different countries.
Materials and Methods
This was a comprehensive review study. The relevant studies were retrieved using Science Direct, PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, Magiran, Iranmedex and SID databases. Inclusion criteria included all the studies that specifically focused on the factors enhancing the PHC system between 1998 and 2017. Finally, 30 articles were selected.
Strategies for strengthening the PHC system were examined from two different angles: factors that facilitate the performance of the health care team, and ways to improve the implementation of PHC. In addition, strategies have been recommended for the following in order to strengthen the PHC system in Iran: trust-based relationships; widespread implementation of the National PHC Program with a focus on personnel training; teaching healthy lifestyle behaviors and drug side-effects; investing in information technology in the health sector in areas such as immunization, child care and prevention of chronic diseases.
Strengthening primary health care requires coordination and inter-sectoral collaboration; involvement and will of a wide range of health and non-health organizations; government support; strengthening of the referral system and the family physician; strengthening the health team; self-care and community participation; a public health-oriented and preventive approach in macro-policies; and, finally, allocating more resources to the health sector.