With support from the WHO, ThinkWell conducted a study to develop a primary care competency certification framework and a corresponding tool to certify primary care health workers. As part of the study, we mapped the current state of primary care delivery in the Philippines, developed options for primary care provider models for the Philippines based on global best practices, created and piloted primary care provider competency assessment tools, and designed a primary care provider certification framework. Our study helped ensure that the Department of Health is prepared to certify primary care providers to deliver services in primary care facilities, as mandated under the country’s Universal Health Care (UHC) Law.

Breaking New Ground

Our work consolidated and aligned initiatives that the Health Human Resource Development Bureau of the Philippine Department of Health has led to clarify and re-shape the traditional roles of health care workers in front-line health facilities, particularly in the public sector. More importantly, this work paved the way to ensure that primary health care services be prioritized and institutionalized.


ThinkWell helped to ensure that when the UHC Law was implemented in 2020, the Philippines had a certification tool to help identify and certify primary care providers who are equipped to deliver an expanded primary care benefit package for all Filipinos.


ThinkWell reviewed existing studies and documents that articulate important health care worker competencies. Our work aligned with the goal for primary health care services in the Philippines to be high-quality, efficient, and accessible to all.


Our research uncovered primary care delivery models that are potentially applicable in various settings in the Philippines. In addition, we identified and validated essential competencies for primary care health workers. Finally, we proposed a certification framework and tool that was pilot tested in selected primary care facilities. For a summary of the rationale and proposed design of the certification process of primary care providers, please visit the SP4PHC Philippines page.