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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 424-429

Standard treatment guidelines in primary healthcare practice

Department of Community Medicine, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chrompet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
S Gopalakrishnan
Department of Community Medicine, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chrompet, Chennai - 600 044, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.148134

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In India, healthcare delivery is implemented at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Of these, primary health care is the essential health care and is the first point of care for the public across the country. The primary health care system caters to nearly 70% of the population by treating about 90% of the common and locally prevailing problems. One of the integral elements of primary health care is provision of essential medicines, which should be available at all times in adequate amounts in appropriate dosage forms and at an affordable cost. It has an important bearing on the medical, economical and social outcomes of the healthcare delivery system. This situation mandates the need for rational use of medicines by standardizing the treatment of commonly occurring illness at the primary health care level. Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) have been in vogue in India only since recent times and is gaining popularity among practitioners. STGs have many advantages for the patients, healthcare providers, drug manufacturers and marketing agencies, and above all, the policy makers and the legislative system of the country. The drawback in STGs lies in the difficulties in implementation on a large scale. With due efforts to prioritize the health needs, comprehensive coverage of national health programs involving all the stakeholders including professional organizations, undergraduate medical curriculum planners and medical practitioners, STGs can be implemented effectively and thereby we can ensure a quality health care at the primary care level at an affordable cost as part of the now redefined Universal Health Coverage. This article is intended as a guide to understand the concept of STGs, prepared with the aim of capacity building for medical professionals in rationally treating patients in their day-to-day clinical practice.

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