To formulate strategic recommendations to strengthen primary health care (PHC) in Brazil’s Unified Health System (SUS) based on expert consultation.
The present qualitative study, developed from March to August, 2018, included administration of an open questionnaire followed by consensus building among 20 participants representing the five Brazilian regions, selected using the criterion of recognized professional expertise in the field of PHC. Participants answered an online questionnaire created by the authors. The findings were systematized as recommendations, which were submitted for priority ranking by the expert group using a one-round Delphi technique. The final recommendations were discussed in a face-to-face workshop.
Of 20 experts, 18 answered the open questionnaire, generating 84 themes for analysis, which were systematized into 44 proposals. Evaluation of these proposals resulted in 20 recommendations, emphasizing expansion of the Family Health Strategy (FHS); enhanced access to PHC; training of professionals for multidisciplinary work in the PHC setting; allocation of technologies to ensure PHC resolvability; improvement of regulation/coordination of services to strengthen a foundational role of PHC in the SUS; human resources, provision of professionals, and support/stimulus for teams; production and dissemination of knowledge; transparency in PHC initiatives; and mediating role of PHC in the healthcare system.
The findings support the FHS as the best model to ensure a strong PHC in the SUS, combined with policies that prioritize essential PHC attributes, especially through innovation in care, management, and communication technologies