.Israel has spent 785 million dollars on Covid-19 vaccinations

By Chioma Obinna

As the Federal government strives to improve COVID-19 vaccines acceptance by Nigerians, the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria, SOFPON, has declared that family physicians were critical to such public health programmes, as patients are more likely to receive vaccines after discussing with them.

Briefing newsmen at the sideline of its ongoing Annual General Meeting in Lagos with the theme: “The Family Physician in the Era of COVID-19 Infection”, the SOFPON President, Dr Nnaedozie Obiegbu, said offering preventive health services and health promotion was essential to family medicine.”

Obiegbu who added that patients usually turn to them as trusted and credible sources of information due to long-standing relationships explained that vaccination constitutes one of the most cost-effective clinical preventive packages.

He added that vaccination remains the cornerstone of the management and curtailing of infectious disease outbreaks.

Charging family physicians on awareness creation on vaccines safety, Obiegbu said: “It is our duty to remain up-to-date with the best evidence as the pandemic progresses and ensure we provide accurate information on preventive measures, self-management of symptoms, the safety of vaccination, as well as defusing incorrect and detrimental information.”

Currently, he said their members were more involved with home-based care, saying that patients want more health information, better access to care teams and tools to manage their health and wellbeing.

Continuing, Obiegbu who disclosed that the pandemic has affected the mental health of patients, added that family physicians also attend to the mental health needs of patients which have increased due to fear of being exposed to COVID-19, long periods of isolation and loss of livelihoods brought by the pandemic.

He explained that primary care during a pandemic would be easier by technology including enabling virtual care, virtual communication and enhanced triage and surveillance.

Speaking, the Secretary of the Society, Dr Achiaka Irabor, noted that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, new technologies emerged as fundamental tools for healthcare professionals to continue their humanitarian services.

Irabor said family physicians individualise care to patients and would continue to explore, embrace and leverage digital technologies to help enhance patient’s care.

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