Family Doctors Needed At All District Hospitals - Society Of Family Physicians Of Ghana

The President of the Society of Family Physicians of Ghana (SOFPOG), Dr Emmanuel Ati has called on the stakeholders in the health sector to ensure an adequate number of family physicians at all the health facilities in the country.

He said family doctors were a critical part of the healthcare delivery system in the country.

He expressed the concern that there were some district hospitals in the country without family doctors, saying “we believe that family physicians should be in every district hospital.”

Family Doctors’ Day

Dr Ati made the call at this year’s World Family Doctors’ Day which was on the theme: “Building the Future with Family Doctors in the Management of Chronic Medical Conditions.”

He appealed to the Medical and Dental Council to include family medicine as part of the areas of rotation for doctors on housemanship to give them an experience in primary health care to make the necessary impact in their community.

“This will enable newly qualified medical officers practicing in primary care to be better able to deal with the unique set of challenges that come with the terrain and also whip up their interest in the field of family medicine,” he said.

According to him, the traditional areas for rotation for doctors on housemanship were Internal Medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology and recently, Emergency Medicine.

However, he said the new doctors are not taken through family medicine, a training, he was of the view would greatly help the physicians after their training particularly in the management of chronic diseases.

He said chronic diseases affected an individual’s health over a long period of time and as such, there was the need to build a health system “that addresses the health challenges of individuals living with these conditions to enable them live life to the fullest.

“These challenges include the shock, grief and helplessness felt after an initial diagnosis is made, chronic unbearable pain, time commitment for treatment regimen, lifestyle changes, the burden of care for both the affected individual and the family, high cost of treatment modalities and the health system environment that can at times be very depressive for these individuals,” he said.

According to him, the care of individuals with chronic conditions required a model of care that provided higher quality chronic illness management within primary care.


He said primary care services “organize and mobilize internal and community help resources that teach skills needed to carry out medical regimens, guide health behaviour change, and provide emotional support for these patients and again ensure that these self-management and support services run a continuous course.”

At the heart of the provision of these services, he said, were skilfully-trained, knowledgeable, patient-centred and community-oriented Family Physicians.

Dr Ati said these physicians employ evidence-based decision support systems in the early detection, screening, treatment and palliation of these chronic conditions.

“Family Physicians are trained to redesign the health delivery system to suit the care of these chronic conditions through the creation of practice teams with clearly defined roles, regular and proactive planned visits that incorporate patient goals and the provision of the care that the patients understand and that agree with their cultural backgrounds,” noted.


“SOFPOG is therefore calling on the government, NGOs, corporate bodies and other stakeholders to support the training of family physicians in Ghana. This support can be provided through scholarships, provisions of logistics for training and incentives for family physicians who serve in deprived areas,” he appealed.