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Primary Health Care

Primary health care systems, when sufficiently resourced, can fully support the provision of essential sexual and reproductive health services to the communities we serve.



would be saved by 2035 with universal midwifery coverage


of CHWs

in Africa receive little or no compensation


of government

expenditures should go to health care, but few countries in sub-Saharan Africa today meet that target

To achieve universal health coverage, primary health care systems— which tend to be people’s first point of contact with health care— must be strong.  Essential sexual and reproductive health services, such contraception, safe abortion, cervical cancer and HIV prevention and treatment services, can be provided through well-resourced primary health care.

Integrating these services into primary health care is foundational to meeting the needs of the communities we serve, particularly women and young people. After all, so many aspects of a person’s health are tied to their sexual and reproductive health, including their ability to delay and prevent pregnancies, prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections, have healthy pregnancies and births, and support and raise healthy children. 

  • The community health system is the foundation of a strong primary health care; when community health workers are well resourced, trained, equipped, and renumerated, they will greatly improve service delivery and health outcomes at low cost. 
  • Investing in supervision and supplies, personal protective equipment, fair and timely pay, career advancement opportunities, and quality health services, including mental health care, for health workers will contribute to reaching universal health coverage and improve quality of care.  
  • Strengthening the capacity of health systems to meet the needs of the populations they serve, while advocating to governments for increased commitment and funding of primary healthcare systems are essential to achieving universal health coverage.

What We Do

Influencing Policies  

  • Pathfinder works closely with governments to make sure comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care is part of the essential package of services provided through the primary health care system. 
  • We advocate for primary health care as the route to universal health coverage and for its inclusion in all health policies. 
  • We advocate for responsive, equitable, accessible, and quality services.   
  • We work with local partners who mobilize stakeholders within and beyond the health system to advocate for financing of primary health care systems.  

Health Systems Strengthening  

Many of the countries where we work have universal health coverage plans that include various approaches to strengthen the health system. We contribute to implementing those approaches based on countries’ needs. 

  • Health workforce and service delivery: We strengthen the capacity of thousands of health workers each year, expanding their skill sets and helping them to provide quality care to the populations they serve. A main focus of our work is improving mentorship and supportive supervision for all health worker cadres to improve the quality and reach of services. We create sustainable systems for support within the health system by working with health providers and nurses to be trainers themselves and continue to support community health workers and others beyond the life of our programs. 
  • Health information systems: We deploy digital solutions to strengthen the health systems, including data collection and reporting, and improve health care equity. 
  • Leadership and governance: We advocate for policies that create an enabling environment for the delivery of quality health care and work with health officials and providers to ensure proper management and support to primary health care.   
  • Health system financing: We advocate for fully funding primary health care that is inclusive of sexual and reproductive health services; this includes fairly paying and equipping the health workforce. We act as a fiduciary agent for government, strengthening their capacity to receive funds directly from donors.  
  • Medical supplies, equipment, and commodities: We ensure health systems have the supplies they need to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services through the health system. This includes preventing contraceptive stock-outs, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. 

Professionalizing Community Health Workers  

  • We’ve worked with our government partners to support and invest heavily in “professionalizing” the community health workforce, ensuring community health workers have the resources and skills they need to do their jobs well and earn the recognition, renumeration, and respect they deserve. 
  • Our support and investments toward professionalization have included trainings on the technical skills necessary to provide contraceptive counseling that adheres to the values of voluntary and informed choice; use of new technologies; information and referrals related to pregnancy and delivery, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer prevention and treatment, safe abortion care, and other issues and diseases, such as malaria, nutrition, and gender-based violence. 

Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment 

  • 70% of health workers are women. We advocate for their fair renumeration and leadership opportunities within health systems and provide trainings that support career advancement. 

Give women and girls control over their future.

Your support provides the reproductive care women and girls need to thrive.

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Featured Publications

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Our Team

Mahbub Alam

Country Director

Irénée Ndabagiye

Country Director

Aguima Frank Tankoano

Chief of Party