Wed | Sep 19, 2018

World Family Doctor Day | Family doctors central to primary health care in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | May 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

"Family doctors are central to the provision of primary health care in Jamaica," noted Dr Arna J Brown-Morgan, family physician and chair of Jamaica's World Family Doctor Day (WFDD) 2016 Committee.

"The first stop before seeing a specialist or heading to the hospital is usually the family doctor who plays a critical role in diagnosing illnesses, treating patients and being their guide through the healthcare system."

In recognition of this, Jamaica will host a series of events in observance of World Family Doctor Day on May 19. WFDD was first declared by the World Organization of Family Doctors in 2010 and has become a day to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world.

Five events are scheduled under the auspices of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians, the Association of General Practitioners of Jamaica and the Family Medicine Postgraduate Programme of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus.

These are:

- A celebratory banquet at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew on Friday, May 13.

- A church service of thanksgiving on Saturday, May 14.

- An inaugural WFDD CME Conference at the Terra Nova Hotel, under the theme 'Family Doctors: The Change Agents In The Non-Communicable Disease Epidemic' for Sunday, May 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

- Launch of 'Adopt a Health Centre' projects islandwide on Thursday, May 19. This is a sustainable programme that will see family doctor groups across the island partnering with community and corporate sponsors to contribute to the improvement of community health centres.

- A walkathon to raise money towards the 'Adopt a Health Centre' initiative is planned for later this year.

This year's events follow the tremendous success of last year's WFDD, during which the public benefited from the provision of free blood pressure and blood sugar tests by the Nurses' Association of Jamaica, the Diabetic Association of Jamaica, and the Red Cross. HIV screening by the National Family Planning Board, ECGs by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, and mammograms by the Jamaica Cancer Society, both sponsored by the National Health Fund. There was also a fair at Mandela Park sponsored by then Mayor Dr Angela Brown Burke and the KSAC.




Last year's WFDD also recognised several family physicians, including Dr Winsome Segree, founder of Association of General Practitioners, The Caribbean College of Family Physicians and the Family Medicine Postgraduate Programme in Jamaica.

In 2015, the event had more than 30 sponsors and was supported by distinguished patrons and speakers, including Brown Burke; Donna Parchment Brown, political ombudsman, then custos of St Andrew; and Jacqueline Sharp, chief executive officer of Scotia Group Jamaica, who used the event to draw attention to the issue of teenage pregnancy and the role family doctors can play in identifying at-risk children.

It is expected that 2016 WFDD will again receive strong support from the public and private sectors.

As part of the global celebration, the WFDD committee will be rolling out the welcome carpet to family doctors in Jamaica, across the Caribbean and the world - with opportunities to be involved in the 2016 activities to mark the day.