The Pholela Health Centre--the Origins of Community-Oriented Primary Health Care (COPC). An Appreciation of the Work of Sidney and Emily Kark

S Afr Med J. 1994 Oct;84(10):653-8.


The health centre practice pioneered by Sidney and Emily Kark and their colleagues at Pholela during the 1940s was a forerunner of and direct contributor to what later emerged as 'the primary health care approach'. This article gives a detailed account of the context, work and methodologies used at the Pholela Health Centre, emphasising the development of concepts that are now well recognised and described as community-oriented primary health care (COPC). COPC remains highly relevant to health service development in South Africa today.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control / history
  • Community Health Centers / history*
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary Health Care* / methods
  • Primary Health Care* / organization & administration
  • South Africa / epidemiology