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AFPI POSITION PAPER
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1157-1162

Rural Health Scenario – Role of family medicine: Academy of Family Physicians of India Position Paper


1 Department of Geriatrics, Patna Medical College Hospital, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Academy of Family Physicians of India, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pratyush Kumar
Senior Resident, Department of Geriatrics, Patna Medical College Hospital, Chair - WONCA Rural South Asia
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_254_18

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Half the world's people currently live in rural and remote areas. About 70% of the world's 1.4 billion people who are extremely poor live in rural areas. The problem is that the majority of healthcare providers prefer to serve in urban areas. Only a comprehensive and systematic approach can address these inequities. India, the largest democratic republic in the world, possesses 2.4% of the world's land area and supports 16% of the world's population. According to census 2011, 68.84% of population resides in rural areas. Nearly 86% of all the medical visits in India are made by rural inhabitants with a majority still traveling more than 100 km to avail healthcare facility, of which 70%–80% is born out of pocket landing them in poverty. A country's approach must systematically and simultaneously address legal coverage and rights, health worker shortages, extension of healthcare protection, and quality of care. Only then can equitable access for all be fully achieved. Those living in rural areas have access to health protection and services that meet the criteria of availability, affordability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality. Family medicine as a broad specialty has its role from womb till tomb. Family medicine is defined as a specialty of medicine which is concerned with providing comprehensive care to individuals and families by integrating biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences. As an academic discipline, it includes comprehensive healthcare services, education, and research. A family doctor provides primary and continuing care to the entire family within the communities; addresses physical, psychological, and social problems; and coordinates comprehensive healthcare services with other specialists, as needed. The practitioners in family medicine can play an important role in providing healthcare services to the suffering humanity. The general practitioner's responsibility in Medicare includes management of emergencies, treatment of problems relating to various medical and surgical specialties, care of entire family in its environment, appropriate referrals, and follow-up. He or she is the first-level contact for the patients and his or her family. Family medicine is the ideal solution to growing rural healthcare challenges. This article is a formal position paper of the Academy of Family Physicians of India.


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