Medical expert decries dearth of family physicians in Nigeria

Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

A Medical Expert, Dr. Emmanuel Arinze on Sunday, decried the shortage of family physicians who were supposed to be the first “port of call’’ for treatment of any form of ailment in the country.

Arinze, who heads the Family Medicine Department, Horizon Specialist Hospital, Awkuzu, Anambra, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the shortage contributed to the congestion experienced at secondary and tertiary health care facilities.

According to him, family medicine is an aspect of medical practice capable of improving primary health care services in Nigeria and caring for the total health needs of the citizens.

“Family physicians are a reliable first contact for all health concerns and directly address most health care needs and are personal doctors for people of all ages and health conditions.

“They help patients prevent, understand, and manage illness, navigate the health system and set health goals.

“Health cases that could be tackled at primary level are being taken to the secondary and tertiary facilities, causing unnecessary delays and congestion, “he added.

Arinze said that dearth of family physicians also contributed to the poor quality of health care delivery and poor health indices in the country.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocation for residency programme of young doctors, improve salary and welfare packages to make those that were qualified stay in the country. (NAN)

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