World Family Doctor Day is being observed on 19th May 2022 to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world. In 2010, the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of Family Physicians (WONCA) has declared May 19th as World Family Doctors Day for the first time. Since then, the Academy of Family Physicians of India (AFPI) plans a series of professional and social activities on this day to commemorate the work of family physicians in the healthcare ecosystem. AFPI striving hard to revive the concept of Family Doctor in the present context and popularize Family Medicine as a clinical speciality.
‘Family Doctor’ is not a new concept in India. Historically Family Doctors used to be generalist practitioners who would not only act as health managers but as a friend, philosopher, protector, and guide for a family. Those days the community reposed enormous faith in the easily accessible and affordable Family Doctor.
Dr. Raman Kumar, President, Academy of Family Physicians of India, Delhi, said, “During the past few decades fragmentation of medicine into subspecialties has made generalist mode of practice languished. Spectacular advances were made in the health sector with a focus on expertise in single organs, systems, or diseases. It is the development of these subspecialists and their concentration in hospitals that have given rise to growing demand in the community for a physician, who is caring, accessible and who is also an expert. The emergence of a clinical speciality called ‘Family Medicine’ has created a hope for reviving the ancient traditions of general medicine and redefining “Family Doctor” who is best trained to meet the requirement of the modern era.”
Family medicine is a person-centred speciality which provides comprehensive care through continuous healing relationship-oriented towards a family in particular and the community in general. “Person centeredness” is the indispensable core principle of Family Medicine and seeks to promote the wholeness of the whole person by a holistic approach to any medical problem.
“COVID 19 pandemic has once again reemphasized the importance of a robust Primary health care delivery system. While the media and public were applauding the tertiary care hospitals for the way they handled critical cases, the primary care workforce was working relentlessly doing their best in preventing complications and significantly reducing the burden on the hospitals, be it testing and contact tracing, treating, and monitoring home isolation cases or even vaccination at public sector has seen primary care workers taking the lead”, added Dr Kumar.
In the backdrop of the current scenario of growing negative perceptions about the medical profession in the community, there’s a great need for promoting family practice to re-establish patient confidence in the noble profession. There’s a need for the young medical graduates to come forward and contribute to the community by choosing family medicine as a speciality. The family Medicine fraternity has a great role to play in redefining the concept of the Family Doctor by preparing the next generation of Family physicians.