‘Family doctors – caring for you for the whole of your life’

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By: Dr Tariq Jagnarine  (Family Medicine Resident)

THE World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) first declared world Family Doctors’ Day (FDD) – 19th May – in 2010 and it has become a day to highlight the role and contributions of family doctors in health care systems locally and around the world.
This event is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the central role of the family medicine specialty in the delivery of personal, comprehensive, and continuing health care for all of our patients. It is also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in family medicine and the special contributions of family doctors, globally.

What is Family Medicine?
Family medicine is the medical specialty that provides continuing, comprehensive health care for the individual and family. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, all genders, each organ system and every disease entity. It is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasising disease prevention and health promotion.

‘Studies show that patients want care that is accessible and affordable. Above all, they want care that responds to them as people, in their unique family and social situations. People do not want to be treated like a collection of specialised body parts; they do not want to have bits and pieces fixed. They want to be treated as people with social and spiritual lives. Primary care is our best hope for the future. Family doctors are our rising stars for the future.’ -Dr Margaret Chan Director-General of the World Health Organization, 2013.

Role of Family Physicians
• A family doctor-patient relationship is oftentimes one of the most trusted in health care. Both the doctor and patient have been nurturing a relationship since a patient’s first visit— and often the patient’s first encounter with the health care system. We know patients count on family doctors and value these relationships.
• Family physicians often act as the central hub for managing your health and provide a higher level of continuity of care.
• Family physicians play an important role in health promotion and illness prevention, coordinating care with other specialties and health professionals, and advocating on behalf of their patients with respect to the care and services they need in all other parts of the health care system.

Family Medicine in Guyana
The Family Medicine Specialty was introduced to Guyana in May 2015 with the launch of the Masters of Medicine (MMed) Family Medicine Post-graduate course. A robust curriculum was developed with the collaboration of the Universities of Ottawa and the Institute for Health Sciences Education. The programme started with a group of six Residents. Today, there are four locally trained Family Medicine Specialists with a vibrant upcoming class of 16 Family Medicine Residents offering primary health care services at Health Care Centres at Grove, East La Penitence, Kitty, Cambellville, Industry, Sophia, and the Enmore Polyclinic.

The Family Medicine Speciality programme incorporates local faculty members distinguished in their specialties along with visiting Family Medicine Specialists to provide the necessary blend of international best practices and expert opinions for our setting. Since the commencement of the programme, there have been notable changes in attitudes, perspectives and competencies among Residents. This is reflected in the enthusiastic uptake of a whole-person perspective to health care. This perspective takes into account more than just the illness, but looks to improve a person’s wellness in all functions of life- social, emotional, physical, and mental.

It is the vision of the Family Medicine Programme to have a Family Medicine specialist placed at all the healthcare centres throughout Guyana. We are working towards providing quality family medicine healthcare for optimal physical and mental health through accessible, safe, cost-effective care that is based on best evidence and responsive to the needs and preferences of patients and populations, and respectful of patients’ families, personal values and beliefs.

It is with warm hearts that the Family Medicine programme of Guyana extends greetings and best wishes on World Family Doctor Day to the Family Doctors and primary healthcare physicians of Guyana and encourages all physicians to continue to care beyond prescriptions.

Upcoming Events:
Table Exhibition at Giftland Mall on May 19, 2019, from 1:00-5:00pm, free mini-medical consultation, blood pressure testing, contraceptive advice, chronic illness advice, and much more.

Come See a Family Physician!
Happy World Family Doctors’ Day 2019!