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Keywords:

  • primary health care;
  • nursing;
  • Islam;
  • culture;
  • women's health;
  • nutrition;
  • World Health Organisation;
  • education;
  • Health for All

Primary health care in Saudi Arabia: applying global aspects of health for all, locally

This paper describes the application of primary health care principles in the Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It arose from a doctoral supervisory experience on a joint programme for women students, operating between a British and Saudi Arabian University. The research looked at nutritional advice given by diploma-level nurses to pregnant women attending primary health care centres in Saudi Arabia. The supervisor supported research that drew on internationally recognized trends in nursing research (the reflexive learner) whilst attending to local requirements and conventions of the culture. The student was encouraged explicitly to site the research within the framework of Islamic teaching and Saudi culture. The Qur’an was used as an overarching framework within which the tenets of primary health care were explored. This was seen to be crucial in addressing World Health Organisation and the International Council of Nurses’ views on contextualizing nursing for the greatest benefit of the population. This was of particular relevance in Saudi Arabia where research carried out in the community by women is novel, and as yet there are no nurse theorists from within Saudi culture.