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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

Three reasons to be optimistic for the future of Asia

The Future of Retail: Changing shopping patterns will mean retailers need to invest in costly and complex solutions

My unlimited China

ISIL continues to pose a ‘serious challenge’ worldwide – UN counter-terror chief

UN chief welcomes start of Church-mediated national dialogue in Nicaragua

Future Forces Forum: Prague will be hosting the most important project in the field of Defence and Security

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

New phenomena in the EU labour market

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

Climate Change: a challenge yet to be tackled in medical schools

Safer products: EP and Council close deal to beef up checks and inspections

Moscow’s Eurasian Union lost significance after the crisis in Ukraine

The issue of health literacy and how it affects European health policies

EU-U.S. Trade Talks: European Commission presents draft negotiating mandates

An EU Summit without purpose

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

MEPs reject making EU regional funding dependent on economic targets

EU invests in green projects and bans single-use plastics while climate change requires more to be done

EU secures more and cheaper energy supplies

Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Indicator recovering losses

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

Humanitarian aid convoy to Syria’s Rukban camp: Mission Accomplished

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

Deaf advocate voices importance of sign languages as UN marks first commemoration

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

How did Facebook fool the Commission that easily during the WhatsApp acquisition?

‘I don’t like to give up’: veteran UN envoy reveals how two decades of quiet diplomacy gave birth to North Macedonia

Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast: sustained but less dynamic growth amid high uncertainty

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

Will Brexit shatter the EU or is it still too early to predict?

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

Understanding the gender gap in the Global South

MEPs commend Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression

Companies that put employees first perform better

Beware the fragility of the global economy

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

ECB: Euro area should smooth out the consumption and income shocks of its members

Change is happening – and young people are leading the way forward

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high – UN

The Junior Enterprise concept: Business & Education

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

Refugee crisis update: Commission still in panic while Turkey is to be added in the equation

Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs

From rescue animals to electric buses, California is introducing bold new rules

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

IQ scores have been falling for decades, new study finds

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

Deal on tightening the rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

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