Primary Care: The Challenges of a Changing World

Today, we face unparalleled demographic and epidemiological changes. In 2005, 19 per cent of all deaths were among children and 53 per cent were among people aged 60 years and older. Non-communicable disease mortality will increase from 61 per cent to 68 per cent universally, and alike tendency will occur in Africa despite the HIV/AIDS pervasive and poor socioeconomic circumstances.

Scientific and technological alterations bring the probability of new prevention and care possibilities. Information and communication technology generates opportunities for more thorough and undeviating documentation of decisions at the point of care, better progression of care, and more effectual communication between organisations and sectors. Diagnostic innovations create convenient and cost-effective opportunities for the refinement of diagnostic accuracy. New drug treatments are materializing and may change the approach to diseases.

One of the most momentous cultural developments is that ‘patients’ are acting more and more as ‘consumers’. In terms of socioeconomic developments, the gap between rich and poor is expanding, and there is a growing concentration of wealth at the top of the income distribution. More and more people are living with a risk of poverty, certainly when they have ‘unstable’ jobs.