Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

doctor 2019 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 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 emphasizing 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.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

Commission publishes guidance on coronavirus-related humanitarian aid to Syria despite sanctions

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

A letter from Italy: Our insecurity in COVID-19 times

Companies that put employees first perform better

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

The power of partnership: joining forces to fight financial crime

Speak up for health care workers’ safety

Intervene, don’t overthink – the new mantra of systems design

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

This is what happened to CO2 emissions in the EU last year

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

You can live up to 10 years longer by doing these 5 things

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

Quality of air in Bucharest-Romania: is it fog or is it smog?

Commission reaches agreement with collaborative economy platforms to publish key data on tourism accommodation

This is how we can feed the planet while saving the ocean

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

Mental health and suicide prevention

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

MEPs approve €585 million to support refugees from Syria

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

We need to build a quantum security coalition. Here’s why

A Sting Exclusive: “The challenge of Society’s digital transformation”, Spanish Minister of Spain for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria live from European Business Summit 2015

China’s lead in the global solar race – at a glance

How COVID-19 can be the Great Reset toward global sustainability

UN food agency begins ‘last resort’ partial withdrawal of aid to opposition-held Yemeni capital

The World Bank’s 2020 country classifications explained

Venezuela: Competing US, Russia resolutions fail to pass in Security Council

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against ‘crime’ of anti-Semitism

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

5 reasons to protect mangrove forests for the future

States with power and influence to end suffering of Yemenis must take action ‘immediately’ – UN rights chief

COVID-19: Both WHO and Europe must learn from the current pandemic, say MEPs

Italy’s revised budget remains roughly unchanged waiting for Europe’s fury

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Labels for tyres: deal for greener and safer road transport

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Agreement on linking the emissions trading systems of the EU and Switzerland

Political solution ‘long overdue’ to protect the children of eastern Ukraine

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

UN General Assembly President upholds value of multilateralism in speech closing annual debate

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

More Stings?

Advertising

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