By Hamid Khan Wazir
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) is organizing a Conference on Family Medicine entitled “Building Primary Care Capacity: Pakistan’s Critical Need” from March 4-5, 2020 at RMU’s Main Campus.
The objective of the Conference is to identify actionable items needed to enhance life expectancy and health outcomes in the country. These include the fostering of training programmes and policies for comprehensive development of Family Medicine, investing in public health and health systems, and initiating a crash programme for training nurses.
The Conference is also consistent with the steps taken recently by the HEC to enhance the quality and relevance of the system of education in the country.
APPNA experts will include Family Medicine faculty from US/Canada training programmes, including Residency programme directors. They will present the curriculum and structure of Family Medicine training in US/Canada and participate in design workshops to help Pakistan’s participating teaching institutions develop primary care training.
Participants from Pakistan include Vice Chancellors and faculty members of medical universities and colleges, leaders from federal and provincial health ministries, representatives of regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders. Family Medicine programmes already established in Pakistan, such as at Aga Khan University, will also share their experience.
The conference is expected to provide a strong basis for the development of Family Medicine, which will ultimately improve healthcare for all Pakistanis. It is pertinent to mention here that the family medicine doctors are the backbone of primary care and primary doctors for the family. They not only diagnose and treat most routine illnesses, provide preventive care and counseling on a healthy lifestyle, but also co-manage chronic illness, refer patients to specialists when needed and then coordinate care with those specialists.