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Primary, Secondary and Tertiary HealthCare

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Primary Healthcare

Primary healthcare denotes the first level of contact between individuals and families with the health system. According to Alma Atta Declaration of 1978, Primary Health care was to serve the community it served; it included care for mother and child which included family planning, immunization, prevention of locally endemic diseases, treatment of common diseases or injuries, provision of essential facilities, health education, provision of food and nutrition and adequate supply of safe drinking water. In India, Primary Healthcare is provided through a network of Sub centres and Primary Health Centres in rural areas, whereas in urban areas, it is provided through Health posts and Family Welfare Centres. The Sub centre consists of one Auxiliary Nurse Midwife and Multipurpose Health worker and serves a population of 5000 in plains and 3000 persons in hilly and tribal areas. The Primary Health Centre (PHC), staffed by Medical Officer and other paramedical staff serves every 30000 population in the plains and 20,000 persons in hilly, tribal and backward areas. Each PHC is to supervise 6 Sub centres.

Secondary Health Care

Secondary Healthcare refers to a second tier of health system, in which patients from primary health care are referred to specialists in higher hospitals for treatment. In India, the health centres for secondary health care include District hospitals and Community Health Centre at block level.

Tertiary Health Care

Tertiary Health care refers to a third level of health system, in which specialized consultative care is provided usually on referral from primary and secondary medical care. Specialised Intensive Care Units, advanced diagnostic support services and specialized medical personnel on the key features of tertiary health care. In India, under public health system, tertiary care service is provided by medical colleges and advanced medical research institutes.


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