5th Global Family Medicine Scientific Alliance Meeting addresses crucial healthcare challenges facing family physicians

DUBAI, The 5th Global Family Medicine Scientific Alliance (GFMSA) Meeting was held virtually yesterday.

During the meeting, doctors and specialists representing several healthcare institutions and organisations from the Gulf Cooperation Council and the world discussed several topics, including the role of the GFMSA and its vision, IFM Scientific Programme briefing, The meeting ended with recommendations and suggestions given by the members on the importance and the future of Family Medicine.

The virtual meeting began with a welcome speech by Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Executive Chairman of the IFM and GFMSA, who said, "Although the world was on hold for two years due to the Covid pandemic, gradually, things are returning to normal, and we are going to commence with IFM Conference and Exhibition 2021 at Dubai World Trade Centre."

Additionally, Dr. Al Madani extended his appreciation and congratulations to the doctors and specialists in Family Medicine, the most crucial healthcare sector.

He added, "We need to focus on the future of Family Medicine and how it would look going forward. Our event focuses on how we can support the community of primary healthcare in the world."

Dr. Manal Taryam, Executive Chairperson, GFMSA, said, "The coronavirus pandemic has led to marked policy changes across various fronts. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a pandemic, the priority was to keep everyone safe, especially the most vulnerable in our community, the elderly, and the chronically ill. Physical distancing and lockdown forced health systems into a new way of working. Some policies such as telehealth had been advocated for years and even implemented in some settings, were quickly welcomed. However, the disruption was massive, not limited to policies; it extended to involve the evolution of health services.

"Primary care became the main gamechanger in the control of public health emergencies. We are all familiar with the services delivered – testing, screening, diagnosing, and managing diseases; but what primary care achieved in Dubai was indeed a success story. From managing and implementing travel protocols in the world's largest airport, primary care managed to provide over seven million PCR tests since the pandemic and obtained world-class recognition through JCI accreditation during the pandemic at the airport medical centres."

She continued, "Primary care also managed to build the first laboratory in an airport. This laboratory is currently at Terminal 2, where it serves the aviation community. Testing was also part of the primary care at the healthcare centres and dedicated fever clinics, COVID-19 assessment centres (so far has provided medical services to over 63,000 members of the community in Dubai alone). Our dental care staff stepped in to manage the COVID-19 command and control centre, becoming responsible for notification, tracking, tracing, reporting at an operational level. Primary care represented by Family Medicine staff planned, launched, and managed the first and largest COVID-19 field hospital in the region, with a bed capacity of 3,000.

She added, "As the country announces the success of the vaccination campaign by recording 94.8 percent of the population who have received the first dose of the vaccine and 84.4 percent of the people fully vaccinated, we are very proud of the accomplishments made by family physicians and colleagues of primary care."

In her speech, Dr. Ibtesam Al Bastaki, IFM Executive Scientific Chairperson, discussed the topics to be covered during the International Family Medicine Conference and Exhibition. "This year, we have distinguished topics that focus on the Covid-19 pandemic, its impact on the population, economy, and vaccination. In addition, we will be discussing issues related to Gastro, screening programmes for colorectal and colorectal cancer, diabetes, chronic diseases and mental health management. Moreover, we will be holding discussions related to men’s health for the first time."

The Global Family Medicine Scientific Alliance – GFMSA was established in 2014 as an initiative issued by the International Family Medicine Conference and Exhibition to promote Family Medicine Education through science, dialogue and networking.

The 8th edition of the IFM will be held from 10th to 12th October, 2021, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Source: Emirates News Agency