A missing link in the healthcare system

Primary medical care is recognized as a key component and foundation of health care delivery systems worldwide. It is also the most appropriate way to achieve equitable and sustainable improvements in the health of people in developing countries. Although very similar, primary care and primary health care are often used interchangeably but have different concepts.

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Primary care or primary medical care describes a narrow concept that focuses on the whole person to improve the health of the individual by providing easy access to medical care. Thus, primary care is defined as “the provision of integrated and accessible health care services by clinicians who are responsible for meeting the vast majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients and to practice in the family and community context. “Primary care is the first door to care and the link between all higher levels of health care delivery systems.

Primary health care, on the other hand, is a broader concept that includes both individual-level care and population-based activities that also incorporate public health elements such as universal access to health care, emphasis on health equity and collaboration within and beyond the medical system. sector.

Many countries emphasize primary care and have developed strong primary care infrastructures. Examples include the UK National Health Service (NHS), which has created Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which integrate primary and hospital care. Canada has a more balanced ratio of primary care physician specialists. Like Brazil, Sri Lanka and Thailand, developing countries have also implemented national-level strategies to increase access to primary care services. An increasingly popular model for orienting the healthcare system towards primary care is the gatekeeper model, which requires patients to select a primary care physician (PCP), known as a family physician, and then be referred to specialists.

Logically, the specialty of primary care and family medicine is considered a crucial medical specialty and a necessity in health care, as it is believed to have a positive impact on health outcomes in many countries around the world. Experiences in the international context suggest that primary care-oriented health care delivery systems can produce better health outcomes and counteract, to some extent, the negative impact of poor economic conditions on health. Increased availability of primary care in low- and middle-income countries is also correlated with improved health such as in Bangladesh.

Many countries around the world have embraced strong primary care, using a variety of structures and models. Lessons learned from these countries could serve as case studies for our nation’s healthcare system, which currently faces an imbalance between specialty and primary care and a significant shortage and inequitable distribution of the workforce. work in primary care. Many researches suggest the need to increase the supply of primary care physicians in our country to strengthen primary medical care.

The Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) has started its Family Medicine Fellowship Membership and Examinations to increase the number of family physicians recognized by BMDC. In addition, many private organizations have also launched weekend courses leading to a diploma and certificate in general medicine to increase the number of competent doctors in primary care. Primary care services will vary according to the needs of different communities.

The author is Family Medicine Consultant, PRAAVA Health. Email: [email protected]

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