14 components of primary health care in Nigeria.

Primary Health Care (PHC) is an essential care made available to all members (irrespective of age, marital status, social class etc.) in a community. Talk about democratization of primary health care.

PHC is usually the first healthcare system contact patients make when ill. PHC services range from mental health, rehabilitation, immunization and vaccination, maternal and child health care to prevention and control of diseases as well as referrals.

14 components of primary health care in Nigeria
14 components of primary health care will be discussed in this article.

The essential components of PHC were developed during the Alma Ata Declaration in 1978. It later got adopted by WHO which led to the extension and formulation of more components to aid in the maintenance of health globally. All these components (facilities and services) constitute the primary health care provided at the grass root level, and are borne out of the health needs in a country.

Here are the 14 components of Primary Health Care.

See list below:

1. Health Education

2. Accessibility, Availability and Affordability of Health Services

3. Immunization against Infectious Diseases

4. Provision of Essential drugs or medicines

5. Proper food and Nutrition

6.Water and Sanitation

7.Maternal and Child healthcare services

8. Treatment of Communicable Diseases

9. Drug Availability and Distribution

10. Prevention and Control of Local

11. Endemic DiseasesPrevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases

12. Promotion of Mental Health and Rehabilitative Services

13. Health Promotion

14. Referrals

15. Family Planning

16. Dental health.

Now, let us take a look at these components in details:

14 components of primary health care

1.Health Education:

This is the first essential component of the PHC. It is through health education that the public is made aware of health problems and diseases, their modes of transmission and more. That way, they are being encouraged to participate in the prevention and control of the diseases.

2.Accessibility, Availability and Affordability of Health Services:

This is another integral component of primary health care. Health services should be easily accessible, available and affordable to individuals, this is what World Health Organization (WHO) clamour for, that way individuals are not discouraged from utilizing healthcare facilities.

3. Immunization:

Immunization is the most strategic component of primary health care aimed that preventing diseases through the use of vaccines. Through routine immunization, the prevalence of infectious diseases such as yellow fever, diphtheria, whooping cough, coronavirus, measles etc. are prevented and reduced to its barest minimum, thereby improving community, national and global health.

4.Provision of Essential drugs:

What is healthcare without essential drugs? The importance of essential medicines for the treatment and management of clinical manifestations of diseases cannot be over-emphasized. Caregivers can help treat diseases through provision of essential drugs to those who need them.

These essential drugs include: antibiotics for infections, analgesics for pain, emergency obstetric medications like oxytocin and misoprotol, family planning medications etc.

5. Food and Nutrition:

One of the principles of PHC is ensuring healthful nutrition. The aim and objective of primary health care is to prevent diseases caused by poor feeding such as protein energy malnutrition (kwashiorkor, marasmus), anemia from iron deficiency and goitre from iodine me deficiency. We are not talking of eating expensive meals here….Primary health care tries to teach the community how to use their staple foods to achieve their nutritional needs.

6. Water and Sanitation:

Gastrointestinal diseses such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea are common in communities with poor access to usable and drinkable water. Primary health care aims to teach the community how best to access clean water or local purification methods. Also don’t forget the importance of water in menstrual hygiene.

7. Maternal and Child health care services:

The component of PHC aims to curb the menace of maternal and child mortality which is still very rampant in most developing countries including Nigeria. Essential health services are renders to these vulnerable groups of individuals. These care could range from family planning, antenatal and post natal care, safe abortion, postabortal care etc..

8. Treatment of Communicable Diseases:

Communicable diseases are diseases that can be easily spread from one person to another. Late detection of communicable diseases could lead to morbidity and mortality. However, this can be mitigated through appropriate interventions and treatment options provided by primary health care services..

At the local level, training programmes are usually organized by PHC in communities to assist in the treatment of communicable diseases.

9. Drug Availability and Distribution:

To make drugs available to all and sundry particularly to areas of immediate attention through adequate supply and distribution is one of the aims of PHC.

10. Prevention and Control of Local Endemic Disease:

Endemic diseases are diseases prevalent in a particular region and could include malaria, Lassa fever, ebola etc. Prevention and control of locally endemic diseases through appropriate measures and strategies is key to promoting and maintaining health.

11. Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases:

Although non-Communicable Diseases aren’t as easily transmissible and virulent as communicable diseases, they are liable to cause morbidity and mortality even at its slower rate. Therefore, means to contain non-communicable diseases are needed as much as communicable diseases to avert deaths. Non-Communicable diseases include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

12. Promotion of Mental Health and Rehabilitative Services:

As defined by WHO, Health is the complete physical, mental, social and emotional state and well being of an individual. This therefore attaches importance to the mental state of an individual. One’s mental health status need to be evaluated and checked from time to time for optimal health.

Globally, campaigns and awareness programs are being carried out in different regions to sensitize the public on their mental health and provide solutions in cases where there is a deterioration in one’s mental health. There are provisions for rehabilitative services that help restore one’s mental health.

13. Health Promotion:

In order to attain a global reduced rate of morbidity and mortality, health promotion is crucial. This is done in conjunction with health education, advocacy, formulation of policies and taking action-oriented decisions.

14. Referrals:

This is also an element of primary health care. Referral services to secondary and tertiary level of care are carried out in PHC. This is because there may be needed services and health needs beyond their capacity to undertake and manage, thereby causing the patient to be referred to an higher level of care for proper treatment and management.

15. Family Planning:

Family planning, pregnancy prevention and child spacing are too important to be ignored as a key component of primary health care….Primary health care tries to reduce the unmet needs of contraception… Education of women and men alike on the best methods of family is a carried out by staff of a primary health care centre.

16. Dental Health

Dental hygiene was recently incorporated as one of the component of primary health care…The strategy guiding this principle of primary health care is to ensure oral health.


The primary focus of Primary Health Care (PHC) is to prevent and control diseases. Maintenance of health and living condition


Stella-maris Achumba is an aspiring Public Health Practitioner. Amongst her God given talents, she is great at writing and storytelling. She has the book “Journey to Self” to her credit. She is as well competent in Copywriting, Digital marketing and Graphics design.



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