PHCPI’s 38 Core Indicators provide a snapshot of primary health care performance based on existing, globally comparable data. The tools on this site enable users to quickly assess a country’s performance and create custom comparisons.  Explore the Indicator Library for details about indicators' definitions, sources, and rationale.






    Indicator Selection Process

    The indicators were selected through a rigorous process. We first developed a new Conceptual Framework that describes important components of a strong primary health care system. We then identified indicators that measure a country’s performance on each component. To be included, an indicator must have data collected by a reliable third-party source that is comparable across countries. Download our methodology for selecting the first 25 indicators and an explanation of how we expanded the list to the full 38 indicators.  

    The Core Indicators fall into five categories, which together, provide an overview of primary health care in a country:

    • System - Is primary health care prioritized in the country's health system?
    • Inputs - Does the primary health care system offer sufficient facilities, health care professionals, and supplies?
    • Service Delivery - Are services accessible and effectively organized, managed, and coordinated to deliver high quality care?
    • Outputs - Does the primary health care system provide the essential services a person needs throughout each phase of life?
    • Outcomes - Does the primary health care system deliver better outcomes and greater equity?

      However, the Core Indicators do have limitations. As you explore the country data comparison tool, you will find that many countries have "No Data" for indicators, particularly when it comes to service delivery. We intentionally included some indicators that measure important components of primary health care -- such as government primary care spending and diagnostic accuracy -- even though these have few country data points. We want to call attention to the need for more and better measurement of these areas and believe that compiling existing information is important.

      In addition, some important components of a strong primary health care system, as described in PHCPI’s Conceptual Framework, are not reflected in the Core Indicators. This is because there are no globally comparable data available for many aspects of the primary health care system, nor well-accepted methodologies for collecting this data.

      All of the data for the Core Indicators are obtained from third party sources. While these are some of the best sources for data on global health, the quality of the data can still be improved. If you know of other data sources we should consider or have thoughts about how to improve data quality, please contact us at

      From Core Indicators to PHC Vital Signs Profiles

      The Vital Signs Profile is the latest step in PHCPI’s journey to improve primary health care through better measurement, building on the Conceptual Framework and utilizing many of the Core Indicators. The Vital Signs Profile also goes one step further, compiling and analyzing multiple data sources to develop new metrics – shining a light on aspects of the primary health care system that were previously overlooked. In this sense, the Vital Signs Profile provides the first-ever snapshot of the strength of a country’s primary health care.


      The Vital Signs Profile also uses a PHC Progression Model to measure components of primary health care that are not measured well through existing methods. The Progression Model, a new tool developed by PHCPI, analyzes a range of qualitative and quantitative data sources to look at three key aspects of primary health care: governance, inputs, and population health and facility management. PHC Progression Model assessments were conducted in collaboration with Ministries of Health in five pilot countries in 2018.   

      Each Vital Signs Profile provides answers to some of the most critical questions about a country’s primary health care system:

      • Financing: How much does your government spend on primary health care?
      • Capacity: Does your system have the policies, infrastructure and other physical and human resources required to deliver primary health care?
      • Performance: Does your primary health care system deliver quality care that meets people’s health needs?
      • Equity: Does your primary health care system effectively serve the most marginalized and disadvantaged groups in society?

      PHCPI and several Trailblazer countries partnered to develop and release the first set of Vital Signs Profiles in October 2018. While primary health care looks very different in each of these countries, these governments have one thing in common: a desire to better measure, and ultimately improve, primary health care for their people and communities.


      For more information: