NUR115 Primary Health Care


The nurse plays various roles in the health sector in order to provide health care.According to Black, Laxminarayan, Temmerman & Walker (2016), health care is defined as various tasks and activities put into place to maintain the health of an individual.  The various professional roles that the nurses undertake in provision of health care includes: research and education, care and treatment for the sick, health promotion, postnatal and antenatal health care, family and child health care, public and population health, palliation and rehabilitation, illness prevention, community development  among others(Kurtzman, 2016). (Stigler, Macinko, Pettigrew, Kumar & van Weel (2016) argues that there are different types of healthcare and includes: tertiary, primary and secondary healthcare.

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The primary health care does not require specialist but is provided by the general medical practitioners. It is mostly the care for minor health problems and first point of care which is usually provided by the family doctor or the general physician. The medical specialists are required in the provision of secondary health care. The medical specialist who provides secondary health care includes cardiologist, urologist, and dermatologist among other medical specialists. The patients requiring primary health care are usually referred for secondary health care if the medical condition requires a medical specialist. The tertiary health care is provided when advanced treatment and medical investigation is required which include: cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, cancer management among other complicated medical interventions (Triyana, 2016). The essay will discuss the maternal health care as the professional function of the nurse in relation to primary health care principles.

The maternal health care is one of the professional functions of the nurse in order to provide both social and medical services to the child and the mother.  Black, Walker,  Laxminarayan, & Temmerman (2016) claims that the various services provided by the nurse in care for maternal health include the postnatal and prenatal medical services, pediatric care during infancy and family planning care. The aim of maternal health care is to reduce and prevent the child, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity (Black, Walker, Laxminarayan, & Temmerman, 2016). The provision of maternal healthcare follows the five primary health care principles as discussed in the essay below.

Accessibility And Equity

The maternal health care is a vital medical service provided by the nurse as a primary health care. It should be ensured that it is easily accessible to all the mothers and children who require it (Clark, Kent & Jackson, 2016). Equity refers to impartiality in the distribution of resources to everyone so that every child and the mother are able to access the child and maternal health services regardless of the financial and economic capability (Clark, Kent & Jackson, 2016). The primary health care which includes maternal health services should be ensured that it is provided equally and that is affordable to all the people regardless of age, gender, location or ethnicity.

 The maternal health care should therefore be concentrated in the regions with the greatest need for maternal health care.  Black, Laxminarayan, Temmerman & Walker (2016) asserts that the establishment of outreach health services and health centres should consider the locations with the greatest need of maternal and child health care. The maternal health care as part of primary health care should therefore be the right of every mother regardless of their capability to pay (Black, Laxminarayan, Temmerman & Walker, 2016).  The primary health care should be comprehensively accessed by all the people who are in need of it.

Manpower Development

Manpower development is a significant primary health care principle. primary health care requires skilled health personnel in order to provide quality health services. Prinja et al (2017) argues that, appropriate health personnel including a qualified nurse should be deployed and allowed to offer primary health care like maternal health care. The development and training of health workers in providing primary health care is important to ensure that the medical services provided meets the required standards. According to Munro et al (2016), the nurse providing maternal health care should have the skills in provision of family planning, postnatal care, antenatal care, and prenatal care. The nurse should also be able to provide health education to the maternal and promote proper nutrition. The nurse should also posses the skills in provision of immunization services to both the mother and the child where necessary.  Nokes (2016) argues that, the nurse should have the capability of ensuring that there is adequate disease control and prevention including HIV transmission between the mother and the child, syphilis transmission, malaria transmission among other disease transmissions.

Community Participation

The community participation is part of the principles of primary health care. According to Perry, Rassekh, Gupta & Freeman (2017), the community in coordination with the nurse plays an important role in ensuring that the primary health care is provided adequately. The nurse cannot therefore offer primary health care such as maternal health care alone instead requires support from the members of the community. The community participation in providing primary health services involves involvement of the communities, families and individuals in promoting their health (Eckenrode et al 2017).

The members of the community should take care of their health in addition to providing solutions to the various health problems affecting them. The members of the community ensure that they participate in provision of primary health services by sustaining promotive and preventive health activities, creating a healthy environment, implementing priorities of health care and articulating their needs regarding health care to the higher authorities (Prinja et al 2017). The community participation is therefore important in ensuring that primary health care is comprehensively administered to the community.

Multi-Sectoral Approach/Intersectoral Collaboration

Intersectoral collaboration is a significant primary health care principle. The provision of primary health care like maternal health care does not only require the coordination of the nurse and the community but also collaboration from other sectors of the economy (Powell Davies et al 2017). Intersectoral collaboration involves organizations, businesses and government involvement in promoting provision of health services to the members of the community. Powell Davies et al (2017) assert that the following sectors of the government are necessary in promoting provision of health care and include: agriculture sector, animal husbandry, water and sanitation, public works, housing, roads and housing, and education.

The health sector cannot facilitate the provision of primary health care in isolation but requires other sectors to participate. The other sectors of the economy participate in the provision of primary health care by ensuring that the community is socially and economically developed. The social and economic development realized from other sectors of the economy aids in offering primary health care with ease by the health sector (Powell Davies et al (2017). The joint coordination of the health sector with other sectors of the economy is therefore important in the provision of primary health care.

Use Of Appropriate Technology

Appropriate technology is one of the principles of primary health care. The nurse should use appropriate technology in administering maternal healthcare. Appropriate technology should be adaptable, technically and scientifically sound to the local needs of the community (Nokes, 2016). Appropriate technology should ensure that the provision of maternal health care is affordable and cost-effective. The nurse should be able to select the appropriate technology in administering maternal health services depending on the availability of the resources and equipment. Depending on the level of care, the nurse should be able to select the most cost-effective and appropriate equipment and methods of care (Nokes, 2016).

The most appropriate technology to use for maternal healthcare even with the limited availability of resources includes; education of maternal on breastfeeding, nutrition rehabilitation, growth monitoring, oral rehydration for children experiencing diarrhea, family education on environmental hygiene and child care, immunization, and care for common illness(Nokes, 2016).  Nokes (2016) asserts that the use of appropriate technology encompasses the use of technology that meets the health needs of the population with the available resources but does not necessary means that it should be a low-level type of technology. Appropriate technology is, therefore, part and parcel of the primary health care principles.


Maternal health care is among the professional roles of the nurse in administering primary health care. The primary health care is the initial point of care and is therefore provided by the general medical practitioner, the specialist is therefore not part of the medical practitioners who provide primary health care. Maternal health care should adhere to the five primary health care principles in order to ensure equitable, affordability and quality health service delivery. The five primary health care principles include intersectoral collaboration, community participation, Manpower development, Accessibility and equity, and Use of appropriate technology. The embracement of the principles of primary health care is vital for the provision of maternal health care.  


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Perry, H. B., Rassekh, B. M., Gupta, S., & Freeman, P. A. (2017). Comprehensive review of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of community–based primary health care in improving maternal, neonatal and child health: 7. shared characteristics of projects with evidence of long–term mortality impact. Journal of global health, 7(1).

 Powell Davies, G., Harris, M., Perkins, D., Roland, M., Williams, A., Larsen, K., & McDonald, J. (2017). Coordination of care within primary health care and with other sectors: a systematic review. 

Prinja, S., Nimesh, R., Gupta, A., Bahuguna, P., Gupta, M., & Thakur, J. S. (2017). Impact of m?Health application used by community health volunteers on improving utilization of maternal, newborn and child health care services in a rural area of Uttar Pradesh, India. Tropical Medicine & International Hea 

Stigler, F. L., Macinko, J., Pettigrew, L. M., Kumar, R., & van Weel, C. (2016). No universal health coverage without primary health care. The Lancet, 387(10030), 1811. 

Triyana, M. (2016). Do Health Care Providers Respond to Demand-Side Incentives? Evidence from Indonesia. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8(4), 255-288.