Primary health care and resilience

Can strong PHC help counter health system shocks?

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 | 16:30-17:45 | Kursaal

Organised by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care, and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection

This session will highlight the critical role of primary health care (PHC) in fostering health system resilience. The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic affirmed PHC’s key role in alleviating patient burden in acute care settings, facilitating an efficient emergency response and ensuring the continuity of health care provision. Trust, civil society engagement, and the involvement of community health workers, all of which are fundamental aspects of PHC, emerged as key elements for reinforcing resilience. The inherent strength of multi-disciplinary team-based PHC lies in its ability to address both individual and population health needs, making it indispensable at the frontline during health emergencies. In addition, as evidence shows, PHC often serves as an engine of innovation, adaptation and transformation within the health system. Team-based PHC settings are thus a bedrock for enhancing emergency preparedness and strengthening overall system resilience while at the same time supporting a future-oriented approach towards health care delivery. 

Session Recording

Speakers & panellists


  • Johannes Rauch, Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, Austria
  • Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director, Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Ilana Ventura, Deputy Head of the Department of DRG, Health and Pharma Economics, Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection
  • Dionne Kringos, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Margarida Cruz, National Health Council, Portugal
  • Johannes Singer, General Practitioner, Primary Health Care Center, Schwechat


  • Dheepa Rajan, Health Systems Advisor, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

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