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Primary health care utilisation threshold

Key points
  • The above standards apply to refugee camps and to out of camp (including urban) situations.
  • ‘Population' includes all individuals who visit health facilities, whether they are refugees or nationals.
  • When analysing use rates, consider whether you can aggregate health facility use by sex, age and (where relevant) origin, ethnic affiliation, and disability.


The threshold is a measure of health service use, calculated in terms of the average number of primary health care visits per year as a proportion of the population.

If the rate is lower than expected, it may indicate that the population does not have adequate access to health services. If the rate is high, it may suggest that the population is ‘overusing' health services. This may be due to the presence of a specific public health problem or because the population has been underestimated.

Main guidance

Emergency standard

Emergency standard


  • Health facility utilisation rate: 1 - 4 new consultations per person/per year.
  • The number of consultations per trained clinician per day is less than 50.


Longer-term standard

  • The above standards apply to emergencies and long-term situations.

Main contacts


  • Your Public health officer (if your operation has one).
  • Your regional technical experts (public health, nutrition, WASH).
  • Contact UNHCR DPSM/ PHS. At: [email protected].

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