19th May, 2022,
Every year 19th May has been celebrating as World Family Doctor Day all over the world. The day was first declared by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) at a council meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in May 2010. World Health Organization (WHO) also recognized the day and encouraged it’s all regions and member organizations to acknowledge it and act accordingly. Observance of the day can highlight the role and contribution of Family Doctors in health care system and will open up many opportunities to show the important works of family doctors for all people in our local communities, our nation and around the world.
This celebration is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the central role of Family Doctors in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for all patients. It’s also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in family medicine and the special contributions of primary care teams globally. Every year WONCA set a theme for the day, as such this year’s theme: Family Doctors, Always There to Care!
Family Doctors are present at all times, and continuity is a fundamental feature of their work. They continuously provide care in all stages of patients’ lives. Continuity is also present in care through the ongoing follow-up carried out to patients, where coordination with other levels of care and health care professionals is crucial. Lastly, continuity represents their constant preparation and skills development, and the ability to adapt and build resilience to change, technologies, methodologies, and educational strategies.
Family doctors and primary care professionals are there, wherever and whenever needed. Always at the front line —in pandemic situation, health crises and times of war or peace. They are part of the communities they work with, proactively reaching and engaging with members, sharing their core values, creating a unique connection with their patients, and building bonds of trust.
Delivering accessible, equitable, sustainable, high-quality care is Family Doctors’ fundamental role to play. Being a Family Doctor is both a privilege and a responsibility, always looking after people and providing what is necessary for their welfare and protection, identifying their patients’ needs to guarantee the fundamental right to health.
So, Family Doctor, a physician regularly consulted by all family members in the time of medical needs and have always been the back bone of any health care system around the world. Few more facts about the Family Doctors.
● Family doctor is a personal medical guide and health adviser with compassionate and holistic approach to patient management irrespective of age, gender or organs involved, which is the comprehensive approach.
● Family doctors are competent and equipped to serve the diverse health needs. They are the specialist in Family Medicine, which is structured training program to meet the patients as a first point of contact, address their total health needs, both urgent and chronic, offer personal medical care in one or more fields of health care within the context of family and community.
● They are linking the community to the higher medical centers for specialized health care. So, acts as in pivotal role by establishing effective referral of the patients.
● They are more aware about the specific health needs of the community, and changing epidemiological patterns, diseases load, so can be in important position to plane health services.
● They help to reduce the health disparities in underserved population by strengthening primary medical care at the remotest areas of the community.
● Multiple evidences suggest that Family doctors can provide quality and cost -effective health care and also can strengthen the prevention and promotion of health-related activities in the community to add value to the health care system.
World Family Doctors Day has opened -up many opportunities to aware the general population and high-light the important characteristics and contributions of Family Doctors, and also creates an atmosphere of global solidarity among family doctors.
We have already faced a significant challenge in combating COVID-19 with lack of access to quality healthcare. Due to insufficient resources and lack of coordination in health sectors, patients struggled to get healthcare – both to manage COVID-19 but also for other chronic health conditions. For that reason, during any pandemic situation, general people are facing more and more sufferings to get medical support due to a lack of proper healthcare delivery infrastructure. A family physician or a family doctor acts as a leader in the front-line health workers.
The need of the hour is to understand and incorporate in our healthcare system well-trained family doctors who may form the backbone of our healthcare system. Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) currently offering MCPS and FCPS degrees. Which are recognized by BMDC. The BCGP (Bangladesh College of General Practitioners) offers FCGP (Member of the College of General Practitioners) and The University of Science and Technology Chittagong offers Family Medicine Diploma (FMD) programme through part time study, not recognized by BMDC.
Recently, Bangladesh University of Health science (BUHS) is offering the certificate course in Family Medicine (first bath is running) with the collaboration with Platform- Family Medicine Wing. The course is designed by national and international Family Medicine experts, so that the trainees will get exposure to the foundation and principles of Family Medicine, quality health care cycles, practice-based research, critique of journal articles and practice management issues which should form a core component of a modern and dynamic Family Medicine training programme.
By taking global perspective, Bangladesh is in need of more and more family doctors in order to build stronger health system. There should be strong policy directive with detailed road map regarding utilization of Family doctors by the government, as well as there should be some initiative to raise general people’s awareness regarding the role of family doctors in the care of family.
Dr. Lt Colonel (Retd) Md Kabir Ahmed khan
Consultant Family Medicine, PRAAVA Health
Chairman, Platform-Family Medicine Wing