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Alma Ata Conference and Health for All



During the 1970s the attention of the WHO turned towards the question of how better to provide services for all people, particularly those who live at some distance from traditional hospital settings. This led to the first conference on Primary Care held by the WHO. 

1977 : In 1977 the World Health Assembly of WHO called for the attainment by all people of the world of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life.

1978 : In 1978, WHO and UNICEF co-sponsored the historic First International Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC) in Alma-Ata, then the capital of Khazakstan. The conference concluded with a Report and 10 point declaration which, among other things, recognised the limitations of the traditional delivery of care through hospitals services and stressed the key importance of primary care in achieving the aspirations of the World Health Assembly. 

1979 : The report of the Alma Ata conference was endorsed in 1979 by the 32nd World Health Assembly and it launched the global Strategy for Health for All by the year 2000. 

1981 : 1981saw WHO publish its Global Strategy for Health for All by the year 2000. The strategy relies on concerted action in the health and related socioeconomic sectors following the principles set out in the Alma Ata Report, a key one of which is that primary health care is key to achieving this.  


38 targets were identified supported by indicators, which, if achieved, would demonstrate improvements in health and fewer inequalities in health. The programme was particularly influential in Europe and Government policies shifted to match the aspirations of Health for All. In England the Government paper “Health of the Nation” published in 1991and its successor “Our Healthier Nation” illustrate how the government planned to achieve Health for All in the UK.  

There is now an extensive database of indicators that allows progress to be measured and inter-country comparisons made. 

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