Ηealth’s foundation is falling apart: what can we do about it?

stethoscope 2019

(Hush Naidoo, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Larisse Leal, a fourth year medical student at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF-GV), Brazil. 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.


If we think about the health system as a well-structured building, then it must rest in a solid and strong foundation – the Primary Healthcare (PC). Hence, there will be possible to lift up the rest of the construction that is, in fact, the progressively more specialized health’s care. Nowadays, however, it seems that the Primary Healthcare is falling apart, mostly because of the young workforce gradual shortage of interest on that matter. Therefore, this is a subject we should talk – and do something –about.

The Primary Healthcare’s importance was first reinforced by the Declaration of Alma Ata (1978), where the values of social justice, the right to health for all, participation and solidarity; and the principles of equity, universality and accessibility were been established as the ones we should pursue in a health’s system. Achieving this, however, requires we put people at the center of the health care, taking into account their expectations and needs.

Unfortunately, the translation of these values into tangible reforms has been very uneven, although health’s equity enjoys increased prominence in the discourse of political leaders lately. Thus, it’s not rare to see part of the population going through unacceptable and avoidable situations, such as children missing out on essential vaccinations, pregnant women lacking the basic prenatal appointments, old-aged people suffering from uncontrolled chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia), among many others undesirable situations.

Therefore, taking into account its undeniable importance, the remaining question is: why is the Primary Healthcare being so neglected, especially by our new workforce? Why do the majority of health students opt for specializations such as cardiology, dermatology, surgery and radiology; rather than choosing to enter the PC? The answer is quite wide, yet not simple.

Among the reasons that make our new generation to abstain from entering the PC, the following ones are the most representative: much lower payment, prestige and acknowledgment when compared with specialized fields; too much paperwork and the dense clinic scheduling, with only a few minutes per patient. However, the most significant reason seems to be the short exposure to the primary care (e.g. family care) during graduation and residency programs, whereas greater amount of time is dedicated to complicated, rare and unique medical problems. Furthermore, there is also a prevailing negative opinion on PC among residents and professionals, which might discourage even more the interest in primary care.

So what can we do about it? No doubt, we need to gather forces to reshape the culture of Primary Healthcare in our health’s schools and institutions. Thus, it would be necessary to gradually change the health courses’ curriculum in order to increase student’s contact with the family care, and make them work closely with PC professionals. Thereby, it would be possible to demonstrate them how challenging, satisfactory and promising could be a career in this field.  Moreover, we also need to encourage researches and scholarships in the primary care’s field, so that the prestige and interest in this area will able to increase further more.

References

World Health Organization. The World Health Report, 2008. Primary Health Care – Now more than ever. Available on: <https://www.who.int/whr/2008/en/ >. Access in January 17th, 2019.

Lahad A et al. How can we change medical students’perceptions of a career in family medicine? Marketing or substance? Isr J Health Policy Res, 7 (52), 2018. Available on: <https://ijhpr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13584-018-0248-6> Access in January 17th, 2019.

About the author

Larisse Leal is a fourth year medical student at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF-GV), Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA Brazil), currently as an active Trainee. She takes a lot of interest on public health’s issues, in which area she hopes to contribute with researches, articles and extracurricular projects. Furthermore, she believes everybody has the right to health, regardless of their social status, gender, race, age and beliefs. She thinks it’s her duty, as a future health professional, to help society achieve this goal.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Strengthen inclusion, participation of people with autism to ‘achieve their full potential’ says UN chief

Microsoft says the internet is getting a little nicer

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Global ageing is a challenge – and an opportunity

EFSF/ESM boss tells half truths about Troika’s doings

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

New rules for temporary border controls within the Schengen area

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

We must build resilience to face the future – but will we be fast enough?

Anti-vaccers: does the empty can rattle the most?

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

MEPs want robust EU cyber defence and closer ties with NATO

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

World ‘not yet on track’ to ensure children a better future: UN rights chief

The sun’s impact on Earth and weather celebrated, as planet marks World Meteorological Day

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

Better Regulation principles: at the heart of the EU’s decision-making process

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

Climate change is speeding up. Our response needs to be even faster

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

Nigeria: Top UN officials say more support needed to ease humanitarian crisis and rebuild lives in conflict-ravaged north-east

Radioactive nuclear waste is a global threat. These scientists may have a new solution

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

The financial future of Eurozone on the agenda of Friday’s ECOFIN council

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

Youth for Climate Change

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Ban Ki-Moon Closing Address at COP21 Action Day Innovation, Imagination, Faster Climate Action

Eurozone: New data show recession and debt closer to explosion

First Western Sahara talks at UN in six years, begin in Geneva

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for continued action to eradicate trafficking in human beings

Presidents of pan-European youth organisations call upon the European Council to preserve the Schengen principles

Out with the old: Young People transforming Humanitarian Action

Security Council hails ‘historic and significant’ joint peace declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea

Environment Committee MEPs push for cleaner trucks and electric buses

7 key challenges for the future of ASEAN – and how to solve them

WHO and IFMSA as transcendent pillars for world improvement

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

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

Britain’s May won the first round on the Brexit agreement with the EU

Commission makes it easier for citizens to access health data securely across borders

Tsipras bewildered with Berlin’s humiliating demands; ECB expects political sign to refinance the Greek banks

More than 750 million people around the world would migrate if they could

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

The inhumane face of crisis mirrored in numbers

Long live Eurozone’s bank supervisor down with the EU budget supremo

‘Critical test’ for North Korea’s Government as civilian suffering remains rife, warns UN rights expert

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

The secret weapon in the fight for sustainability? The humble barcode

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

Falsified medicines: new rules to enhance patients’ safety

UK’s Cameron takes the field to speed up TTIP talks. Will “rocket boosters” work?

Trailing the US-EU economic confrontation

Logo Mania: A call to action to our crisis of connection

Banks, insurance giants are free again to abuse the real economy

Who will win the AI race? If countries work together, then the answer could be all of us

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