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Give Speciality Status to Primary Healthcare: Doctors urge Government

Give Speciality Status to Primary Healthcare: Doctors urge Government

New Delhi: Its indeed a dilemma, that while medicine remains a dream career for most young children in the country, yet, state governments across are struggling to find qualified medical practitioners to man its primary points of interaction with the patients.

Raising this issue,  the Academy of Family Physicians of India (AFPI)  has recently urged the government to give the status of “speciality” to primary healthcare , saying their experts (family physicians) are the first point of contact for healthcare for most people.

President of the Academy of Family Physicians of India, Raman Kumar said, “By strengthening primary healthcare (PHC), burden of diseases at advance stages can be prevented. It needs effective planning and future road map to reach the target. The PHC forms the anchor around which entire healthcare delivery system is organised.”

“Primary healthcare is not yet recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI) as a specialty, although MCI has advocated for the creation of a diploma course in family medicine. Primary healthcare practitioners therefore have no formal system for career progression. They have lower pay and worse working conditions than their hospital colleagues,” he added.

Currently, primary healthcare by the general physicians is not recognized by the Medical Council of India as any form of specialty.

Primary healthcare is a key component of the Indian healthcare sector to speed up its growth as the aim of the primary health sector is to provide an easily accessible route to care, whatever the patient’s problem.

The World Health Organisation has identified five key elements as part of the primary healthcare, reducing exclusion and social disparities in health, (universal coverage reforms), organising health services around people’s needs and expectations (service delivery reforms) and integrating health into all sectors.

Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that India needs to invest more in public healthcare and build a robust health delivery system in all aspects, including infrastructure and human resources,with special focus on rural areas

Read also: India needs to invest more in public healthcare: WHO


Source: with inputs from IANS
2 comment(s) on Give Speciality Status to Primary Healthcare: Doctors urge Government

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  1. user
    Dr P Zachariah July 13, 2017, 12:06 pm

    It is good to see Family Medicine (FM) developing as a special medical field with its own professional journal and MCI recognized speciality degree, somewhat like in Canada. But we need to be clear that the main purpose is not just to develop such a speciality as else where, but to meet a significant unmet need of our country. As against the lopsided development of tertiary care, the entire pre-tertiary care is a vast neglected area, with no clear identity or definition of competence. In the U.K.and in Australia this area is referred to as General Practice with its own Royal College. But for historical and practical reasons that name has already been ascribed to the large number of unspecialized practitioners in India. Hence the name FM seems appropriate for the newly developing speciality in the pre-tertiary area in India. But to meet our need and indeed to justify its recognition, the Indian FM speciality should be well versed in two more fields in addition to FM as understood in developed countries: (1) a Community Medicine orientation. Given our conditions, the physician with a local reach and influence should mediate the preventive and promotive aspects of health care. The health status of of our people will never improve if the physician at the first point of care provides only curative care however competently and accessibly. (2) Given our conditions, especially the very scarce referral options, the so-called primary care giver in India should be a multi-competent physician well able to meet the clinical needs of communities with no referral options within a radius of 20 or even 50 KM. This is a very challenging set of competencies, well worth the attention of the best of our medical graduates. And deserving to be recognized and rewarded accordingly. And we need them not only in the villages but equally in the urban communities as well. If our government can recognize the need for such specialists to man the pre-tertiary segment in India and to reward them and support them with requisite support services, we will be closer to the Golden Grail of Universal Health Care. And if the rising FM enthusiasts in India can redefine and promote their speciality in this way, that will be the most exciting and relevant development in the field of Medicine in India. South Africa is moving in this direction. Their FM MDs serve well in PHCs as well as district hospitals.

  2. user
    Dr Udaya Maiya July 13, 2017, 10:13 am

    Totally agree with Dr Raman. The structure should be starting from the bottom to top of the pyramid. Primary health care service in form of General physicians and family physicians can do fantastic work in giving health care the broad foot print it deserves and very economical expenses. One important component of this is Home health care. The elderly and debilitated people who are outside the band of medical surveillance will immediately come under medicare with Home healthcare. This has worked well in our organisation PORTEA MEDICAL where we have hundreds of elderly people taking medical assistance from us.