Primary Health Centre (India)

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Primary Health Centre (PHCs), sometimes referred to as public health centres, [1][2] are state-owned rural health care facilities in India.[3][4] They are essentially single-physician clinics usually with facilities for minor surgeries, too. They are part of the government-funded public health system in India and are the most basic units of this system. Presently there are 28,863 PHCs in India.[3]


Apart from the regular medical treatments, PHCs in India have some special focuses.

  • Infant immunization programs: Immunization for newborns under the national immunization program is dispensed through the PHCs. This program is fully subsidised
  • Anti-epidemic programs: The PHCs act as the primary epidemic diagnostic and control centres for the rural India. Whenever a local epidemic breaks out, the system's doctors are trained for diagnosis. They identify suspected cases and refer for further treatment.
  • Birth control programs: Services under the national birth control programs are dispensed through the PHCs. Sterilization surgeries such as vasectomy and tubectomy are done here. These services, too, are fully subsidised.
  • Pregnancy and related care: A major focus of the PHC system is medical care for pregnancy and child birth in rural India. This is because people from rural India resist approaching doctors for pregnancy care which increases neonatal death. Hence, pregnancy care is a major focus area for the PHCs.
  • Emergencies: All the PHCs store drugs for medical emergencies which could be expected in rural areas. For example antivenoms for snake bites, rabies vaccinations, etc.


The Indian government initiative to create and expand the presences of Primary Health Centres throughout the country is consistent with the eight elements of primary health care outlined in the Alma-Ata declaration.[5] These are listed below:

  • Provision of medical care
  • Maternal-child health including family planning
  • Safe water supply and basic sanitation
  • Prevention and control of locally endemic diseases
  • Collection and reporting of vital statistics
  • Education about health
  • National health programmes, as relevant
  • Referral services
  • Training of health guides, health workers, local dais and health assistants
  • Basic laboratory workers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Hindu. 'Residents appeal for public health centre'.
  2. ^ The Hindu. '60 labourers injured in bridge collapse'.
  3. ^ a b Guidelines for Primary Health Centres Revised (2012) issued under Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. (PDF)
  4. ^ 'Tirupur gets new Primary Health Centre'. The Hindu.
  5. ^ Park, K. (2009), Park's Textbook of Preventive & Social Medicine, Jabalpur: M/s Banarsidas Bhanot, p. 805, ISBN 978-81-906079-4-0