Towards unity for health utilising community-oriented primary care in education and practice

Educ Health (Abingdon). 2007 Aug;20(2):74. Epub 2007 Aug 25.


Context: Although the evidence is overwhelming that healthcare is delivered more effectively if one involves the targeted communities in decisions concerning their health, top-down programs still rule the world.

Objectives: In order to highlight the benefits of a community-oriented approach, we report the experiences from Ghent, Belgium on COPC styled healthcare initiatives and COPC modelled multidisciplinary education. Community-oriented Primary Care and Education: COPC is a five-step model combining primary health care, public health and community data and resources. The involvement of community (members) is a crucial element in any effort to effectively enhance health (care) in a given community. Small scale examples from two health centers are given. In order to train future healthcare workers to be able to function with the communities, they participate in a one-week interdisciplinary course based on the COPC cycle at the University of Ghent. The COPC program in relation to Its practical organisation, goals and limitations are presented and discussed.

Conclusion: In order to reach health objectives set out by disease-specific or health promotion programs, a community-sensitive approach is needed, especially for the most deprived communities. The COPC model offers inspiration and can be a practical tool to work with communities. It is also feasible to create a short COPC exercise to prepare future healthcare workers for complex community work. This model is one of the ways to concretise some of the main objectives of TUFH.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Education, Medical / methods
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation