Family Medicine Advocates and Practitioners Make Strong Case for its Strengthening and Recognition
The 2nd Annual Family Medicine conference in Uganda has opened at Muyenga Club in Kampala. The two-day conference attracted over 30 participants from institutions in Uganda, Rwanda, Belgium, USA and Southern Sudan. The theme of the conference is ├ö├ç├┐Improving Health Systems in Africa: the Contribution of Family Medicine├ö├ç├û.
In his keynote address Dr. Scott Loeliger, Program Director at Global Health through Education, Training and Service (GHETS), said that Family Medicine should be on the table with other disciplines when it comes to sharing and distribution of resources and opportunities.
He said family physicians can play many roles including advocacy for better health services, protectors of ethics and equity, community voices for the under-served and leaders. He said family physicians provide comprehensive health care- regardless of gender or age of the patient-are clinically and culturally competent and also care for individuals in the context of the family and the community. They therefore care for the patients in their entirety.
He mentioned the various efforts geared at strengthening family medicine, like Primafammed (which is a South-South collaboration for training in family medicine), WONCA, 15 By 2015, among others.
Earlier on in his welcome remarks, Dr. Fred Ndoboli of the Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences noted that in today├ö├ç├ûs world full of inequalities and human survival challenges, the role of family medicine is clear-cut.
Dr. Scott Loeliger making his presentation at the conference
Above Dr. Fred Ndoboli of the Department of Family Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences and below; a cross section of the conference participants
Here below are some of the key issues that came out in the discussion:
├ö├ç├┐Family doctors need to stand up and tell the world and show that what they do is very important and they are doing it very well├ö├ç├û
├ö├ç├┐In the context of developing countries where specialists are clustered in urban centres, the role of Family doctors in especially rural underserved areas is very obvious├ö├ç├û.
├ö├ç├┐The training of family doctors: are there enough family doctors to train and mentor others?├ö├ç├û
├ö├ç├┐There is a gap between the specialists and the community, which the family doctor/general practitioner can help to fill├ö├ç├û
├ö├ç├┐The general practitioner can work as back-up to a failing surveillance system├ö├ç├û
├ö├ç├┐Family physicians need to include and encourage communities to get involved in community projects that improve their health, like building and maintaining health centres├ö├ç├û.
├ö├ç├┐Family medicine has not been strong on research, so ability to do research should be incorporated into family medicine training├ö├ç├û.