The Federal Government has advised the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) to partner with the media to boost disease prevention and early diagnosis campaign in the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, gave the advice on Saturday in Abuja at the commemoration of the World Family Doctor Day (WFD) organised by SOFPON, with the theme “Family Doctors: Caring for you for the whole of your life”.
The World Family Doctor Day is commemorated on May 19 annually.
Ehanire further advised them against relenting in their role as care providers at primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.
The minster, who described the role of family physicians in advocacy to improve population health, policy formation for equitable distribution of health resources as indispensable, urged them to persevere as decision makers by always making the best decision for their patients care.
“As we celebrate the WFD, I encourage you to keep up good work and do even more until our health indices become the best in the world. Persevere in your role as decision makers by always making the best decision for the care of your patients.
“Continue to partner with the media to our citizens for disease prevention and early diagnosis. Do not neglect your role as community leaders to improve the well-being of our communities especially those at the rural and peri-urban with the support of all stakeholders,” he said.
Ehanire, who frowned at the limited resources in health sector, however implored members of the society to hold fast to their role as health resource manager for cost-effective and quality care.
According to him, primary care research to generate evidence that matters to patients, policy makers and healthcare providers should not be neglected.
Ehanire noted that the WFD was first declared by the World Organisation of National Colleges, Association, Academies and Society of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010.
He emphasised that the day was set aside to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in healthcare systems around the world as well as to celebrate the progress being made in Family Medicine and the special contributions of family doctors globally.
The minister specifically noted that the profession has begun to take its position in Nigeria, in our universities, with the approval of National University Commission such that we now have Professors of Family Medicine in various universities. This was not so ten years ago.
“Postgraduate training in Family Medicine has grown in leaps and bounds with not less than eight training centres one in Abuja.
“Family practice with core values of patient centeredness, comprehensiveness, continuity, humanness and medical care co-ordination is highly relevant in modern day medical practice of fragmented and dehumanising health care,”
Ehanire observed that the theme highlight the role of Family Doctor in providing life-long care to patients “from cradle to grave”.
According to him, the key role of family physicians in the management of children and also their pivotal role in palliative and end-of-life care cannot be overemphasised.
“Everybody will have a place and indeed a medical home under the umbrella of family doctors. Be you a pregnant woman, a neonatal, a toddler, a teacher, couples intending to wed, the newly married, newly employed, young adult and the elderly irrespective of your disease condition or health status,” he said.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola