Pakistan: speeches on Family Doctor Day

Address of chief guest Sardar Muhammad Yasin Malik, Aasalam-o-Alykum.

First of all I congratulate College of Family Medicine Pakistan for celebrating World Family Doctors’ Day with theme of “I love my GP”. I have learnt that President of Philippines has declared 19th May, 2012 as World Family Doctors’ Day and henceforth it will be celebrated as such in future also. It is an established fact that Family Doctors / GPs work at the grass root level and provide care to patients, day and night at the initial level, which is called Primary Health Care, both in urban and rural areas. It is also heartening that since their establishments by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) in 1974, the College has actively pursued academic activities for training of doctors for DFM, MCPS, FCPS and MRCGP (International) South Asia by Royal College of General Practitioners; and now the sixth batch is going to receive certificates today. I congratulate all recipients of certificates and wish that they will serve this country and play pivotal role in providing primary health care to all their patients, as community and masses trusts them for their health problems.

Moreover it is also a credit for College of Family Medicine Pakistan that it is one of the founder members of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) and has a regional Vice President of South Asia Region and is also included in the board of MRCGP (Int.) South Asia, (carrying out further training and updating of family doctors / GPs through a distance learning program). Chairman of College of Family Medicine Pakistan, Prof Waris Qidwai is also the Chairman of the Research Working Party of WONCA and its two representatives Dr Arshad Malik and Dr Aziz Khan Tank have been elected as members of equity and membership committee which was held at the convention of 122 counties of world at Cancun, Mexico.

I earnestly request both Federal and Provincial Governments to involve family doctors and GPs in various program for the control of malaria, TB, water born diseases, hepatitis B and C, HIV / AIDS, blindness, reproductive health, immunization etc.  Similarly all international organizations like WHO, UNICEF, DFID and many others should also involve GPs / family doctors by actively involving the College of Family Medicine Pakistan, which is very active in imparting knowledge and training, including computer training. I pray to Allah that CFMP Pakistan, may prosper and serve with zeal its own countrymen and furthermore that CFMP, which is serving masses (through producing qualified family physicians/GP), for their better health and hygiene and also working on our future generation to make their body healthy with a healthy mind, takes Pakistan's primary health care to higher and higher level. I feel that it is not my words that will count but the dedication, determination and commitment of members of College of Family Medicine Pakistan will produce the desired results.

With this, I once again congratulate the College of Family Medicine Pakistan, it's management body, members and all the family physicians and GPs of Pakistan on today's World Family Doctors’ Day. I am thankful to CFMP for giving me this opportunity to talk to the primary health care providers and I assure of my full cooperation in achieving your goals as our goal is one: Health Care for All.

Participants in the Family Doctor Day celebration Dr Tank: Why Family Doctors Day?

This is a substantial extract from a speech made by Dr Aziz Khan Tank, Secretary General, of the College of Family Medicine Pakistan on World Family Doctor Day.

On this day we solemnly pledge that Family Doctors of Pakistan will fulfill their obligation as laid down by international code of ethics for their country-Pakistan.

Primary care reduces social inequality in health. Overall the stronger the primary care approach in a country’s health system the better the health outcomes. Action is needed, not just rhetoric. Health is limited if health systems are build around hospitals and consultant specialists.

The benefits of primary care: first contact access for each new need; long term person (not disease) focused care; comprehensive care for most health needs; coordinated care when it must be sought elsewhere.

Primary care is best when these four features are fulfilled along with a family and community orientation as relevant. Possible reasons why primary care physician deliver better health outcomes:

  • A focus on the person rather than managing a particular disease; the overall aspects of the patient’s health rather than a specific disease.
  • Being a first point of contact protects from over treatment.
  • Continuity of care or a relationship over time (the individuals uses their primary care physician, over time, as their primary source of care) generates more accurate diagnoses, greater satisfaction with care, better compliance with management plans, and lower emergency and hospitalization rates.
  • Previous knowledge of patient increases the odds of recognizing psychosocial aspects of care.
  • Continuity of care and first point of access leads to greater efficiency in using less consultation time, fewer laboratories or rather tests, and fewer prescriptions all leading to cost savings.
  • People with no source of primary care delay seeking help for longer, and do not receive timely preventative care.
  • Consultant specialists are likely to over estimate the likelihood of illness in patients they see leading to inappropriate diagnostic and management modalities leading to adverse events and medical errors.

Most of us go through training and practicing medicine without receiving any formal education about history of medicine much less about history of family medicine. Where do we come from? What forces and people have struggles, accomplishments and disappointments have the discipline have faced?

We are product of history and we stand on shoulders of many who made family medicine possible. History does not just explain past but also by providing framework for understanding the present helps us to move forward. Dr Stephen great founder of family medicine said “medicine is always the child of its time and cannot escape being influenced and shaped by contemporary ideas and social trend.

We hope to help strengthen our identity as family physicians to stimulate students to learn more about family medicine as career choice to learn more about the fundamental role of family medicine in health care delivery in this country and to promote personnel commitment to promoting our specialty in all aspects of our work.

A physician who focuses not upon individual organs and systems but upon the whole man who lives in complex setting his concern will be patient as whole and relationship with patient must be continuation.

As a specialty, we have walked a rough, steep road and accomplished a great deal; however, many dreams and goals remain unfulfilled. History teaches us over and over that our social evolution is the result of the economic, social and cultural forces of the times, and that they are all interrelated. For example: we cannot separate the economic forces that determine the financial support for health care from their effect on the patient doctor relationship; or their effect on medical education. We cannot ignore the social and cultural changes in our society and their impact on how and where health care is delivered. We cannot ignore the effect of the growth of knowledge and availability of information the patient’s expectations and desires. We cannot be oblivious to the effect that the accelerated growth of knowledge has on how we practice Family Medicine and on the feasibility of maintaining competency as generalists.

Family practice is the medical specialty which provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family. It is the specialty in breadth, which integrates the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences. The scope of family practice encompasses all ages, both sexes, each organ system and every disease entity.

And that’s why our patients say “I love my GP”.