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[Review] Revisiting Alma-Ata: what is the role of primary health care in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are now steering the global health and development agendas. Notably, the SDGs contain no mention of primary health care, reflecting the disappointing implementation of the Alma-Ata declaration of 1978 over the past four decades. The draft Astana declaration (Alma-Ata 2·0), released in June, 2018, restates the key principles of primary health care and renews these as driving forces for achieving the SDGs, emphasising universal health coverage. We use accumulating evidence to show that countries that reoriente their health systems towards primary care are better placed to achieve the SDGs than those with hospital-focused systems or low investment in health.

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