Innovative shortcuts and initiatives in Primary Health Care for rural/remote localities: a scoping review on how to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic
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Institute for Collective Health, University of Sao Paulo - USP, Brazil
University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil
University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil
FIOCRUZ Amazonia, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A347
Background and Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as one of the greatest challenges to societies and to world health systems in the last century. Therefore, it is essential to discuss the role and initiatives of Primary Health Care (PHC) to deal with it. Regarding the response to the pandemic, the rural/remote PHC context in the pandemic is barely visible. This review aims to analyze the set of individual and collective initiatives and innovations developed to face the pandemic, within the PHC scope, in rural/remote areas. Methods: A scoping review methodology was applied to peer-reviewed articles. Eight databases were searched to identify studies published from January 2020 to July 2021. The main focus sought in the literature was the set of initiatives and innovations within the PHC scope in rural/remote locations during the pandemic. The bibliographic information was imported into a web application for systematic reviews, following the scoping review stages. Results: This review included 38 studies, mostly from Australia, Canada, USA and India. The main PHC initiatives were related to access; to the role of Community Health Workers and Health Surveillance; and to the importance of placing and retaining human resources in health. Cultural, equity and vulnerability issues occupy an important place among the initiatives. Regarding the innovations, telecare and customized communication are highlighted. From an organizational dimension, these locations showed flexibility to deal with the pandemic and it is important to indicate that they have potential for intersectoral activities at the local level. Conclusions: The findings summarize initiatives and innovations developed to face the pandemic, within the PHC scope in rural and remote areas. This review has identified collective, clinical, intersectoral and organizational health initiatives. An articulation between different government levels would be paramount in evaluating the implementation of policies in these areas for future epidemics.