Philosophical Similarities in Healthcare

Philosophical Similarities in Healthcare
Institutional Affiliation
Philosophical Similarities in Healthcare
Health is multifaceted in nature as various factors interact to determine the well-being
of individuals and communities. However, there is growing evidence that suggests that health
systems have provided inadequate responses to the needs and challenges of diverse
populations leading to poor health outcomes and a high disease burden (Dawson, Nkowane &
Whelan, 2015). As a result, the healthcare systems in the world have designed several
approaches to meet the diverse healthcare needs of the population. These approaches include
primary health care, community engagement, and midwifery tactics that share common
philosophies. One of the fundamental ideology in all these approaches is the delivery of
continuous care to clients which leads to better health outcomes. This paper discusses these
philosophical similarities between primary healthcare, community engagement and
midwifery approaches and how these contributes to healthy outcomes of women and their
Primary health care (PHC) is an approach of providing health services that entails the
provision of promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and supportive care to the
population (Walt & Vaughan, 1982). The central focus of PHC is the prevention of illness
and promotion of health. This entails the provision of education on nutrition, sanitation,
lifestyle, maternal and child health, and immunization so as to promote health and wellness.
Additionally, PHC is guided by the principles of accessibility, public participation,
health promotion, application of relevant technology, and intersectoral collaboration
(Dawson, Nkowane & Whelan, 2015). Accessibility requires the eradication of social
disparities to enhance coverage. Public participation requires the health provider to involve
clients in identifying their health needs and making decisions on the way to solve them.
Health promotion involves educating the people on how to maintain good health to reduce the
need for curative and rehabilitative services (Walt & Vaughan, 1982). There is also a need for
improving knowledge and capacity of the health system to deliver evidence-based services
through the application of modern technology. Finally, PHC requires cooperation among
different sectors of the economy. The integration of health in all the sectors promotes the
development of sound policies.
Community engagement, on the other hand, entails working together with the societal
members and established groups to address the health needs and deal with issues that have an
impact on their health and well-being. It is a powerful tool for bringing about the desired
changes and promoting decision making capabilities of healthcare systems to improve the
health of the population (CDC, 2015). Community engagement requires the establishment of
long-lasting partnerships and coalitions that play a crucial role in the mobilization of
resources, catalyse change policies, and promote the implementation of health programs that
benefit the community. Community engagement requires health systems to conduct an
outreach, consult, involve, collaborate, and have shared leadership on matters that affect
health. This improves health promotion efforts and implementation of change leading to
improvements in the delivery of health services.
The midwifery philosophy affirms the importance of health and well-being of
families, communities, and nations. It is anchored on the believe that child bearing is a
profound experience that has a significant impact on the health of the mother, child, family,
and the community at large (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2013). The
midwifery model is based on respect for human rights and the belief that midwives provide
the best care to pregnat mothers due to the nature of their training. Midwifes recognize that
child bearing is a normal physiological process. Additionally, the approach advocates for the
provision of holistic and continuous care grounded on the understanding of the different
social, cultural, economic, spiritual, psychological, and physical experiences of women
(Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2010). This requires taking partnerships with the
mothers and respecting their right of autonomy in the plan of care.
The three approaches to health and wellness share several similarities. The common
denominator among these approaches is their emphasis on continuity of care. PHC involves a
continuum of care starting with health promotion, and prevention of diseases. According to
Talbot & Verinder (2014), “ensuring continuity in assisting people to maintain their health
and manage illness through treatment and rehabilitation is the primary focus of PHC” (28).
Therefore, the primary health care team has the responsibility of promoting continuity and
ensuring that it is managed by the most appropriate health personnel to inspire confidence in
the community. This is in line with the midwifery philosophy which advocates that midwifes
who are qualified personnel should provide care to mothers. Additionally, the midwifery
approach requires providers to build women’s confidence in the healthcare system and
themselves to cope with childbirth.
PHC is also anchored on the principles of public participation through collaborative
models of policy dialogue. This ensures the optimum use of the available resources and
guarantees sustainability and self-sufficiency (Andre, & Heartfield, 2011). This is inline with
the community engagement philosophy which highlights the right of the community to be
consulted in matters affecting their health. This aims at empowering community members to
ensure success of the various community programs. It fosters an environment of trust which
leads to sustainable implementation. The midwifery philosophy also focuses on empowering
women to assume responsibility for their health and that of their families (Nursing and
Midwifery Board of Australia, 2018). It also recognizes the need for developing sustainable
partnerships with these women to ensure personalized and continuous delivery of care. The
emphasis on client-empowerment by the three approaches ensures that care is available all
the time leading to continuous care.
The incorporation of PHC and community engagement in the provision of midwifery
services leads to the delivery of high-quality and safe care for women and their babies.
According to the ICM (2000), “research indicates that midwife-led continuity of care models
are associated with benefits for mothers and new-borns, such as the reduction in the use of
epidural anaesthesia, fewer episiotomies and instrumental births, and increased spontaneous
vaginal births and increased breastfeeding” (1). Mothers also experience less cases of pre-
term births and deaths of babies before reaching 24 weeks of gestation. Additionally, the
incorporation of PHC, community engagement, and midwifery approaches leads to reduced
cases of neonatal deaths. The Royal College also discovered that delivering continuous
personalized care reduces incidences of postnatal depression by ensuring earlier diagnosis
and provision of better support to the women.
In conclusion, there are several approaches to the delivery of healthcare services in
the community. These approaches include PHC, community engagement, and midwifery
philosophies which play a significant role on the health and clinical outcomes of mothers and
their babies. The approaches pay close attention to the continuity of care. PHC advocates for
a continuum of care starting with health promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation
of patients. Community engagement highlights the need for empowering community
members to ensure continuous success of the health programs. This ensures sustainability of
health programs. The midwifery philosophy concentrates on the delivery of holistic and
continuous care to women by qualified midwives. This has yielded several benefits for
women and their babies leading to better health. Therefore, health professionals should focus
on providing continuous care to pregnant women.
Andre, K., & Heartfield, M. (2011). Nursing and midwifery portfolios: Evidence of
continuing competence. Chatswood, NSW: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Andrian, A. (2009). Primary Health Care in Australia A nursing and midwifery consensus
view (pp. 12-58). Melbourne: Australian Nursing Federation. Retrieved from
CDC. (2015). Chapter 1: What Is Community Engagement? | Principles of Community
Engagement | ATSDR. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from
Dawson, A., Nkowane, A., & Whelan, A. (2015). Approaches to improving the contribution
of the nursing and midwifery workforce to increasing universal access to primary
health care for vulnerable populations: a systematic review. Human Resources for
Health, 13(1).
ICM. (2000). Philosophy and Model of Midwifery Care (pp. 1-4). International Confederation
of Midwives (ICM). Retrieved from
Talbot, L., & Verinder, G. (2014). Promoting health: The primary health care approach (5th
ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA] (2010). National competency standards
for the midwife. Melbourne:
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Page 15 of 19 Version: February 19th 2018
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA] (2013). Code of ethics for
midwives in Australia. Melbourne:
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
[NMBA] (2013). Code of professional conduct for midwives in Australia. Melbourne:
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [NMBA] (2013) A midwife’s guide to
professional boundaries. Melbourne: Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
Walt, G., & Vaughan, P. (1982). Primary Health Care: What Does it Mean? Tropical
Doctor, 12(3), 99-100.

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