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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

How to turn a traditional business into a platform-based success

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

School closures triple in Central and Western Africa as education comes under fire

How can we prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? 5 lessons from innovative schools around the world

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

This farmer used an age-old technique to save his soil and now his farm is prospering

Finnish Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Why feeding the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our forests

Sudan: UN rights chief alarmed over ‘excessive force’, alleged use of live fire against protestors

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

‘Still time’ to stop a ‘bloody battle’ for Libya’s capital, insists Guterres

The future of suicide and depression prevention

A backbencher Tory MP threatens both EU and UK with a no-deal Brexit

Every bite of burger boosts harmful greenhouse gases: UN Environment Agency

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

Young activists share four ways to create a more inclusive world

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

New Syria fighting represents ‘giant powder keg’, warns aid veteran, as he leaves UN stage

Can the next financial crisis be avoided?

Female leaders warn about the erosion of women’s rights

Three ways batteries could power change in the world

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

3 charts that show how attitudes to climate science vary around the world

Education in Emergencies: EU announces record humanitarian funding for 2019 and launches #RaiseYourPencil Campaign

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Brexit must not put UK university research at risk

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Engie; has to recover around €120 million

Meet the Seed Warrior: the man on a mission to rescue India’s rice diversity

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

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

The world wide web is 30 years old. What better time to fight for its future?

The importance of Yellow September and suicide prevention in Brazil

Phone lines open between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and people are calling strangers

UN chief appeals to G7 leaders for ‘strong commitment’ and political will to tackle climate emergency

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

Donors must do more to align development finance with climate goals

Four ways Europe can become a global innovation leader

FROM THE FIELD: Balancing act for Philippines farmers

EU budget: the Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

Boris ‘single-handed’ threatens mainland Europe; can he afford a no-deal Brexit?

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Amazon fires: Health Effects, Near and Far

Why income inequality is bad for the climate

The best companies to work for in 2020, according to Glassdoor

Ukraine’s Poroshenko implicates NATO in his duel with Putin

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Combat against devastating effects of tobacco can only be won ‘if the UN stands united’ – UN health official

The EU Parliament backs the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

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