Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

stethoscope

(Martin Brosy, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Lilian Teresa Pimentel, a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Over the past decades, medicine has advanced rapidly in technology and innovation. From the human genome, electronic medical records, and minimally invasive surgery, new areas of study within the medical field have been developed.

Nowadays, after graduating medical school, doctors further their education by becoming specialists or even subspecialists. However, due to this rapid flow of information and new scientific discoveries, basic primary care specialties have been overlooked and often considered less prestigious.

Primary healthcare (PHC) is a crucial element of any health care system, as it serves as the first contact of the patient with the health system. PHC is often referred to as essential health care, as its providers focus on the patient as a whole and assume the role of patient advisor and advocate. PHC is the base of disease prevention, health promotion, patient’s follow-up care, and early intervention.

In contrast, specialty care centers for diseases and specific organ systems focus on specific illness episodes or disease processes. However, specialty care has gradually expanded the scope to include disaster medicine and medical genetics.

As a medical student, I have been fortunate to enter an academic program that stresses the value of community medicine, clinical skills, primary care, and research. Early in our career, we participate in regular visits to a local community, sharing community health projects with residents. Later, during our clinical rotations, we visit PHC units located in urban and rural areas.

Therefore, this exposure to PHC early in our medical education has provided a valuable toolkit that allows a smooth transition into the teaching hospitals. It has also shaped our doctor-patient relationship skills, helped us to better understand the patient’s illness within the context of family, society, and community, and provided the ability to form relationships with patients and residents while developing clinical competence.

In summary, the best way to encourage doctors to have an active role in the PHC workforce is through extensive interaction with communities and patients, early in medical school. Community-based medical education or a curriculum oriented to cultivate PHC through medical school education is needed.

This can empower doctors to effectively manage community needs while emphasising holistic health rather than the sole focus on symptoms. To conclude, community-based medical education will not only improve the learning process of future physicians, but will also likewise contribute to preparing doctors to deliver health services in vulnerable communities, and hence further reduce existing health inequities and inequalities.

References

  1. Kelly L, Walters L, Rosenthal D. Community-based medical education: Is success a result of meaningful personal learning experiences? Education for Health. 2014;27(1):47.
  2. Yoo JE, Hwang SE, Lee G, Kim SJ, Park SM, Lee J-K, et al. The development of a community-based medical education program in Korea. Korean J Med Educ. 2018;30(4):309–15

About the author

Lilian Teresa Pimentel is a fourth-year medical student at O&M Medical School in the Dominican Republic. In 2015, she joined the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and has served as Local and National Coordinators of the Standing Committee on Public Health and Vice-president of External Affairs of IFMSA-Dominican Republic. She has shared her public health experiences through four publications in the IFMSA Medical Student International. She also participates in community service activities of other local and international organizations in the Dominican Republic.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

93 million children with disabilities ‘among the most likely to be left behind’: UN rights chief

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Trust links up supply chains. How do you establish it in the digital era?

We need to talk about failure in the social sector

Israel is joining forces with Arab states to save coral from climate change destruction

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

The next EU President will first have to drink his tea at Downing Street

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

Ambassador Zhang Ming: “Work Together for a Better Globalization”

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

Idlib deal could save three million ‘from catastrophe’ says UN chief, as militants are urged to lay down arms

What does global health translate into?

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?

‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

Can we balance conservation and development? Science says yes

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

Access to health in the developped and developing world

Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

This new form of currency could transform the way we see money

EU-China relations under investigation?

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

Why Microsoft is a regular to Almunia’s

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

How to unleash the enormous power of global healthcare data

Britain in chaos: May stays as Tory leader and PM but none can defuse the Brexit time bomb

“We need to accelerate our negotiation on the China-EU Investment Treaty”, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights from the 21st EU-China summit in Brussels

Pumping more money into banks but leaving them unregulated doesn’t help

Schools in Florida now have to teach mental and emotional health

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

After music and TV, where will the streaming revolution take us next?

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

The glimmers of hope in the latest dire climate report

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

These are the world’s most positive countries

This Japanese company pays its employees to get a good night’s sleep

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

Sweden is a top performer on well-being. Here’s why

Could play be a game-changer for the world’s forests?

UN affirms ‘historic’ global compact to support world’s refugees

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s