The Perspectives Of Health Workers On The Role Of Family Physicians:
Background Family medicine is the specialist discipline of primary care with family physicians at the helm. Family physicians in a multidisciplinary team approach can cost-effectively manage most common conditions in the primary care setting 1,2,3 and the strengthening of primary care through incorporating more family medicine in the health care system has been shown to be the best way to address the current glaring health inequities1.However the role of family physicians is not well articulated by other health workers. Objectives The main objective of the study was to understand the perspectives of health workers at IHK on the role of family physicians. Health workers’ understanding of a Family Physician and their perceived skill set of Family Physicians made up the specific objectives. Methods This was a qualitative study that incorporated key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Twenty six participants took part in the study. They represented the various health cadres working at IHK. Interviews were done with the aid of interview guides and were digitally recorded. Interviews were then transcribed verbatim and thematic content analysis was done manually. Results Family physicians were perceived by most health workers to provide comprehensive health care to families, though confusion on the terminology was noted. Clinical, administrative , research and a limited role in policy were mentioned. Attributes of a multidisciplinary practitioner, counselling , communication, interpersonal and leadership skills were ascribed to their skill set. Benefits of reduced hospital visits, specialist visits, hospital admissions and reduced overall health care costs were attributed to Family Physicians by many respondents. However Family Physicians were relatively unknown, few in practice and their roles lacked clarity Conclusion There needs to be more sensitization of health workers on Family Physicians and Family Medicine. There needs to be clarification of their roles in the health care system.