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We, executives of Wonca APR, would like to express our statement on primary health care (PHC) and universal health coverage (UHC) which is the top health issue in this region , as follows:
1. It is important to note that Family Medicine is the key specialty whose competencies and scope of practice allow comprehensive, coordinated and person-centered care that meets multiple medical needs for individual patients of all ages, families and communities over time. Family doctors/general practitioners, working with other primary healthcare workers, can integrate patient needs for prevention, acute and chronic care across disease groups, in a way that centers care on the particular individual, family and their communities. 1,2
When appropriately trained and working within an adequately resourced clinical setting, family doctors have been shown to be both cost-effective, valuable and able to improve health outcomes for entire populations. All countries in the region have the potential to transform their health workforce by training more family doctors as a critical part of a multidisciplinary team providing integrated, people-centered primary health care – the foundation of universal health coverage. 3
2. Family doctors should be the coordinators, managers and leaders of the primary healthcare. Therefore, the top priority in workforce for primary healthcare is to train sufficient family doctors in WP region.4
3. The use of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in assisting training and works of family doctors especially those practicing in rural areas is now being developed in many places. The use of AI to assist family doctors in their consultation is also means of enhancing quality.5
4. To identify the gaps in global knowledge and practice about what works in primary health care and to priorities a collaborative and research agenda that focuses on four key areas: organization and models of care, quality, safety, and performance management, policy and governance, and financing of primary care systems, cooperation between WHO-WPRO and Wonca with an advisory group should be started in in the earliest future. 6
OECD. Realising the full Potential of Primary Health Care. Policy Brief May 2019. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/health/healthsystems/OECD-Policy-Brief Primary-Health-Care-May-2019.pdf
Art B, Deroo L, De Maeseneer J.: Towards unity for health: utilising community oriented primary care in education and practice. Education for Health Change in Learning & Practice2007, 20:74.
De Maeseneer J: Family Medicine, Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage: What is WONCA’s role? WONCA News 2019, 45 (9):4-5.
Blease C, Kaptchuk TJ, Bernstein MH et. al.: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Primary Care: Exploratory Qualitative Study of UK General Practitioners’ Views. J Med Internet Res 2019, 21:e12802.
De Maeseneer JM, van Driel ML, Green LA, van Weel C. Translating research into practice 2: the need for research in primary care. Lancet 2003, 362:1314–1319.