As countries aim to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving universal health coverage, health inequities driven by racial discrimination and intersecting factors remain pervasive. Inequities experienced by indigenous peoples as well as people of African descent, Roma and other ethnic minorities are of concern globally; they are unjust, preventable and remediable. Health systems themselves are important determinants of health and health equity. They can perpetuate health inequities by reflecting structural racism and discriminatory practices of wider society. For instance, systemic racism, implicit bias, misinformed clinical practice, or discrimination by health professionals contributes to health inequities. However, health systems can also be a leading force for tackling the inequities faced by populations experiencing racial discrimination. Primary health care (PHC) is the essential strategy for reorientating health systems and societies to become healthier, equitable, effective and sustainable. In 2018, on the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) renewed the emphasis on PHC with their strategy, WHO outlines 14 strategic and operational levers for policy-makers to strengthen PHC. Within each lever, there are multiple potential entry points for targeted actions to address racial discrimination, foster intercultural care, and reduce health inequities experienced by indigenous peoples as well as people of African descent, Roma and other ethnic minorities.
primary health care, discrimination, inequalities,