Featured Doctor

ALNASER, Prof Faisal

Bahrain - family doctor

Faisal Alnaser, from Bahrain, professor of family medicine and leader in the development of family medicine in the East Mediterranean region.

How did you come to be a family doctor and educator?

My undergraduate study was at the college of medicine of Ain Shams University in Egypt. Later, I joined the family medicine residency program and then travelled to Glasgow University to obtain a PhD in family medicine. I also joined Royal College of General Practitioners, UK and later I was awarded the fellowship status. I am also a member of the Irish College of General Practitioners and fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Royal College of Physicians, UK.

In Bahrain, I started working in both the academic field (College of Medicine of the Arabian Gulf University) and provided clinical services in the Ministry of Health. I was involved in teaching family medicine starting from as early as year two of medical education until the last year of medical school using many innovative training and assessment programs in family medicine that I have developed. Holding various decisions making in the school such as the university vice president, acting dean of the medical school and chairman of family and community medicine department gave the opportunity to assure that the family medicine discipline was a major element in any teaching or training within the medical school.

Other interesting things you have done?

I was chairman of the scientific counsel for family and community medicine of the Arab Board for Health Specialties for over eight years. During that period I was responsible for improving family medicine training in various Arab countries. Hence, I was helping in promoting family medicine, supporting the development of new residency programs in family medicine, certifying existing training health centers and making sure of the quality of new family practitioners. I also had the opportunity of helping and establishing family medicine residency programs in many different countries and supervise the process of training and assessment in family medicine such as in Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan.

What is it like to be a family doctor in Bahrain?

Being a family physician in Bahrain initially required courage and much effort because of lack of knowledge of the public about the concept of family medicine, however, as the years pass, Bahraini people have become more aware of family medicine. Now they love to have family physicians that they call their own.
I enjoy working as a family physician because it makes me closer to the patient and his surroundings and by helping them, I obtain self-satisfaction that no methods of meditation can provide to me.

Bahrain is a small island situated in the middle of the Arabian Gulf and was the first country in the region to start family medicine services (since the 1980s) and the residency training program in collaboration with the American University of Beirut in 1982.

You have represented Bahrain on WONCA Council for years ...

A close relationship with WONCA was maintained via the collaboration that I established between the Arab Board for Health Specialties and WONCA. I managed to involve WONCA in the training and assessment of family residents in the Arab world and to benefit from their experience in that field. Now I am the regional advisor for the WONCA East Mediterranean region and participate in research work being done in the region.

In the WHO in my region I am assigned as a regional expert in family medicine and am invited regularly to attend advisory meetings that are organized for discussing methods of improving and wider implementation of family medicine in our region.

What are your medical interests?

I am very interested in research to find out the attitude of people towards their illnesses and diseases and I am also interested in health education. For that, I have more than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals, published three books and written chapters about family medicine in three international textbooks. I regularly write articles and give various speeches and talks about health education, aiming at raising the level of health awareness of the people.

Minor surgery is another interest of mine - where I could do procedures away from secondary care facilities because I believe that referring the patients to hospital for such procedures may increase their stress level and make them prone to medical complications from the hospital environment.

And your personal interests?

I am a father of four children (three boys and one girl). They and their mother are the most precious things for me, in life. I like gardening and believe it is another life that I could give care and love to it. My other hobby is to collect hotel pens hoping that at a certain time I could hit the Guinness record with that collection.

If you would like to send any spare hotel pens to Faisal please send to:
P.O. Box 31369, Budaiya, Bahrain