May 21, 2024

On 24 April 2024 at 12:00 CEST, the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care will host the third episode of Season 4 of the live talk show “Let’s Talk Primary Health Care”. Registration is now open.

This time, the expert panel will explore how to close gaps in access to primary health care in rural areas. The panellists, including frontline practitioners, researchers and policy-makers, will provide unique perspectives, experiences and evidence.

These experts are at the forefront of applying technology and innovation to bring primary health care closer to people in rural areas. Some of the initiatives to be discussed embrace a lifelong perspective, promoting ongoing professional development and ensuring a strong talent pipeline to effectively meet rural health-care needs.

Health equity and access gaps underscore disparities in health outcomes driven by social, economic and environmental factors, particularly in rural areas. Limited health-care facilities, transportation barriers and a shortage of health-care professionals widen this gap, leading to elevated rates of chronic diseases and preventable hospitalizations in rural, remote and dispersed population areas. Social determinants such as poverty and limited access to education further exacerbate these challenges.

Moreover, despite continuous efforts, challenges in recruitment and retention of health workers persist, impeding the establishment of a fully staffed, stable and sustainable rural health-care sector. Insights into the current landscape of rural health-care workforce development initiatives across the WHO European Region are needed.

Harnessing technology and innovation is essential for bridging these gaps. Telemedicine allows for remote diagnosis and treatment, enhancing health-care accessibility. Mobile health clinics and digital tools provide resources and education to underserved communities. Embracing technology tailored to rural needs can advance us towards a more equitable health-care system.

This episode of “Let’s Talk Primary Health Care” promises to be an engaging and insightful conversation. Panellists will delve into the multifaceted factors influencing health-care access in rural, isolated and dispersed population areas. Join the conversation during the deep dive sessions that follow the first hour of live talks.

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