Primary Health Care Now, More Than Ever; is a theme chosen to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Alma-Ata International Conference on Primary Health Care, which was the first to launch a social movement toward health care for all in 1978. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Report 2008 makes a strong declaration that primary care is needed now more than ever to suit the current global economic crisis, increased urbanization, globalization and population shifts that have amplified the transmission of communicable diseases and increase the burden of chronic disorders. All these changes are putting the social cohesion of many countries under stress. Few would disagree that health systems need to respond better – and faster – to the challenges of a changing world.
The report also recognizes the work of family medicine doctors / specialist is essential in advocating and achieving health equity and health care reforms. Family Medicine Specialist came into the primary health care scene of Malaysia in 1997 as part of the Malaysian Health Care System reform. As pointed out by WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan; ‘Primary Health Care offers a way to organize the full range of health care, from households to hospitals, with prevention equally important as cure, and with resources invested rationally in the different levels of care.’ Thus, Family Medicine Specialist is to play an integral part in bridging the gap and to help facilitate intersectoral collaboration and networking.
Bearing that in mind this conference has been planned with the objectives to share best practices, to discuss on challenges and issues in primary health care and the way forward for primary care in Malaysia
On behalf of the Family Medicine Specialist Association it is a great pleasure for me to extend greetings to everyone participating in this very important event. This conference will provide a wonderful platform where all policy makers, primary health care professionals and the universities to work together, strengthening networks and partnerships as well as sharing ideas and insights towards the ultimate goal of moving primary health care in Malaysia forward.
I would also like to extend a big thank you to the Organizing Committee members. Without them, this conference would not be a success
Appreciation and gratitude also to Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Kedah and all sponsors for their valuable support and paving the way without which this conference would not be possible.
Datin Dr. Hjh. Zil Falillah Bt. Hj. Mohd Said