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By Chioma Obinna
On this year’s World Family Doctors Day, Lagos State Chairman of the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria, SOFPON, Dr. Sixtus Ozuomba has called on Nigerian doctors to be humane in rendering medical services to Nigerians even in the face of a harsh economy.
Making the appeal during a medical outreach conducted by the Society for traders at the Computer Village, Lagos, Ozuomba said they should uphold key roles as six-star physicians- comprehensive caregivers, communicators, coordinators of care, managers, advocates and researchers.
He charged doctors not to allow the prevailing economic difficulties to make them lose their humanity that is part of their calling as family doctors.
Ozuomba, a consultant physician, said the aim of the medical outreach was to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases and prevent sudden death among productive Nigerians.
Further he explained that Family Doctors Day is celebrated annually on May 19 to highlight the roles of family physicians and celebrate their contributions to healthcare delivery all over the world.
Speaking on the theme: “Family Doctors, Always There To Care”, he said the three pillars ‘Always, There and Care’ captured effectively some of the core tenets of a family physician.
He said: “A family physician ensures continuity of care at all stages of the patient’s life, and at the front line, even during unusual health events, and creates a bond of trust with his patients.
Ozumba added that the care pillar represented the responsibilities and the privileges the family physician has in ensuring the provision of accessible, equitable, sustainable and high-quality care to his patients, noting that access to affordable healthcare was a basic human necessity.
Speaking on the medical outreach, he said it was strictly to create awareness and offer free medical screening to traders in the area as part of the activities of the Society towards preventive health promotion and elimination of barriers to healthcare.
“We brought healthcare to the doorstep of those that we know find it difficult to go to the hospital, not because they don’t have money, but because the awareness is not there. You may be a PhD holder but be ignorant of health matters.”
He said the Computer Village was chosen because many people operating in the area were in their productive years hence the need to educate them on health as well as ensure they have access to basic healthcare.
“If this young man goes down medically, that might be the end for the dreams of many other persons. That’s why we are here, to sustain the ripple effects.
“These people who are in their prime might not know they have diabetes or hypertension, but we will pick it here, give them care and refer them to a hospital for more treatment.”
Among services rebdered included free consultation with physicians, screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, hepatitis B and distribution of free drugs.
The Society earlier organised a conference on the management of bronchial asthma, where medical doctors were updated on the current guidelines.