Aga Khan University’s Medical College has signed an agreement with the World Health Organisation, Pakistan, that seeks to raise standards of practice in Family Medicine across Pakistan.
Family Medicine practitioners cater to the health needs of people of all ages and gender across the lifespan. They offer comprehensive care which not only includes management of acute and chronic diseases, but also incorporates health promotion and disease prevention. In Pakistan, eight out of ten patients seek care from General Practitioners, who often enter the workforce right after undergraduate education, and have to learn on the job while caring for patients.
Recognizing that most General Practitioners are unable to enrol in structured training, the Department of Family Medicine launched the one-year certification course, FamMed Essentials, in 2019 to offer busy practitioners the ability to update their knowledge and enhance their skills.
FamMed Essentials’ curriculum comprises five modules: paediatric and adolescent care; reproductive health and genitourinary concerns; non-communicable diseases; infectious diseases population health; and common surgical, rheumatologic and dermatologic issues faced in primary care. The modules are followed by a five-day hands-on skills training at the Center for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME). The modular and blended learning style of the course allows busy practitioners to continue working while learning; while robust assessments prepare participants for further qualifying medical tests and examinations.
There are almost 100 beneficiaries to date, comprising general physicians, family physicians, final-year medical students, and master-level nursing students who plan to become advanced nurse practitioners in the field.
WHO projects that scaling up primary healthcare by strengthening Family Medicine could save 60 million lives in low and middle-income countries while increasing average life expectancy by 3.7 years by 2030.
WHO’s endorsement of FamMed Essentials recognises the importance of Family Medicine and the need for capacity building initiatives to help achieve health targets under the sustainable development goals, particularly targets 3.4 and 3.D