New Delhi, Jul 3 (PTI) With many diseases and specialities emerging in the last three decades, the doctor fraternity has urged people to encourage the efforts of family physicians, the first caregivers to a patient.

Unlike other medical specialists who focus on a specific type of disease or a particular part of the body, family medicine practitioners treat a large variety of different health conditions.

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“People's healthcare needs often get suppressed in multispecialty healthcare settings. It has been seen that they need a person who can address their apprehensions about their health and guide them to take preventive steps to maintain their wellbeing and take timely action during illness.

“This is where the role of a family doctor in our society comes into play and it is incredible that we are celebrating their importance this doctor's day,” said Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals.

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It is vital to remember that the country's public healthcare system only has 0.08 doctors for every 1,000 patients. These alarming numbers continue to decline with the passing time, Dr Bajaj said.

Family physicians serve as "gatekeepers" in the effort to contain outbreaks because they are frequently the first to interact with patients. When Covid hit India, they were the first to report infections and advised the patients on the value of immunization, isolation, and finding the appropriate treatment.

“They also switched to telemedicine and gave families in danger all the assistance they could when the entire country shut down due to lockdown,” said Dr Sameer Kulkarni, Regional Director, Paras Healthcare.

Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director, Orbis India said the ophthalmologists, optometrists and vision technicians from across the country, and those engaged with Orbis partner hospitals have done a commendable job in giving sightseeing aid to communities during COVID-19.

“From providing emergency eye care services during the pandemic to addressing the huge patient backlogs post-pandemic, the eye care teams have come a long way to enable access to care. Orbis is proud to be working with some of the incredible doctors/eye hospitals to strengthen institutional quality, establish Children's Eye Care centers, and support free/ subsidised treatment of children with refractive error and surgical needs,” he added.

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