The UP COPC Research Unit was established in 2015 by the Department of Family Medicine to explore and innovate the practices and processes of ICT enabled community-oriented primary care. The research activities within the unit focus on innovative and sustainable contributions to reengineering primary health care in order to change health outcomes for ordinary people in a meaningful way and to significantly contribute to health care capacity development within and beyond the COPC project sites. Initiatives/projects currently being managed by the COPC RU include Anglo PHC, SAPRIN, COSUP (awarded top Cities Network Project in 2020), informal settlements health, Gauteng Province Community Health worker training and many more.
Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) is a cooperative approach to quality, cost-effective health care. It is a way of doing health that extends between people and systems, and serves in defined geographical spaces. It is a way of doing health that empowers, builds and enriches everyone. It is primary care where professionals from different disciplines and approaches work together with organisations and people in defined communities to identify and respond systematically to health and health-related needs in order to improve health.
Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) mobilizes clinical and public health resources in the places people live and work, it is designed to enable everyone to contribute to and benefit from health. Doing COPC is simply about bringing public health and clinical care together in order to work concretely and specifically with people in their communities.
The starting point of doing COPC is to work with people in geographically defined areas or communities. In South Africa, for example, the defined geographical areas of work for primary health care teams are the facility catchment areas that fall part of wards. Wards are administrative units in local municipalities and the whole country is divided administratively into local municipalities.