"Family medicine makes me a different doctor"

In the UK when someone has a health problem they will usually first visit their GP, who can, if necessary, refer them on to specialists for tests or treatment. This is part of the ‘family medicine’ model of healthcare which Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is helping to adapt for the Palestinian health system.

Among the many benefits of adapting the Palestinian primary healthcare system to the family medicine model is how it should help address challenges faced with an ageing population and rising rates of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

With our partner, the Foundation for the International Development of Family Medicine (FIDFM), MAP is supporting An Najah National University in Nablus, in the West Bank, to teach Palestinian GPs the key skills needed for applying the family medicine model in their work.

Dr Tasneem Yahya, a GP from Tulkarem involved in the training, describes the impact the family medicine approach is having on her work:

Today I am on call in the Internal Medicine Department. A 50-year-old woman arrived complaining of chest pain. I went to her and started to take a history. The pain was not caused by a medical or physical condition so I asked her if there is anything that causes her distress.

She told me about her problems. I tried to calm her down and find solutions. Of course, I did not forget to do medical checks to reassure her.

She came out of the emergency and smiled. She told me that she had not met a doctor like me before, so I told her that this is what makes family doctors unique.

Thanks to family medicine which makes me a different doctor.

Thanks to family medicine, which offers me the opportunity to provide a different health service in a different way from others.

Thanks to family medicine which allows me to see satisfied smiles on the faces of my patients after including them in their treatment plans.

Thanks to family medicine, which gives me my own unique glasses in which I see my patients in a holistic approach, taking into account biological, psychological and social factors.

Thanks to family medicine, which has helped me to modify my patients’ life styles, and allow them to adopt healthier ways of life.

Thanks to family medicine which has improved my knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

And finally, I thank god who gave me the opportunity to specialise in family medicine. Soon I hope family medicine will benefit all primary health services in Palestine. 

To support MAP's family medicine work in Palestine, please consider making a donation today.