Document Type

Article

Department

Family Medicine; Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Background: Family Medicine is growing rapidly across the Eastern Mediterranean Region. However, it needs support in terms of overall health system development. This will require strong leadership in family medicine to implement the change required to improve current conditions.

Objective: To collect data that will support the development of a leadership program for the future family physicians in the region.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from July 2016 to September 2016 in eight countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia). These countries were selected to obtain perceptions of Family Physicians (FPs) regarding the current leadership model and to explore the need for a new future innovative model in Family Medicine (FM) across the region.

Results: The information of 68 family physicians was included in the final analysis. The majority of the FPs was females as compared to males (71% vs. 29%). Forty-four percent of the FPs had 10 to 19 years of experience. Almost all of the FPs (96%) had completed some training in family medicine after graduation. About three fifths of the FPs had completed postgraduate qualifications and out of those, 64% had passed Board or Membership Examinations. Twenty-one percent of them are currently in a leadership role and 45% who were not in any leadership role responded that the current situation of FM in their country is poor. All of the leaders believed that it is important to develop strong leadership in FM to take the specialty forward. Almost similar proportions (67% and 64%) of leaders and non-leaders thought that establishing regional associations would enhance the FM practice model. Approximately two thirds of leaders (67%) responded that the current role of decision makers in the Ministry of Health (MOH) regarding capacity building in FM is not effective. The majority of the FPs (54% and 38%) considers that the existing postgraduate curriculum does not address leadership skill development in FM. Eighty-eight percent of the FPs both from leadership and non-leadership groups agreed that academic institutions and practicing FPs can play an effective leadership role in taking FM forward.

Conclusion: The Family Medicine specialty will have to develop leadership capabilities in line with today’s fast-moving changes in healthcare for it to obtain the due recognition in the healthcare delivery system.

Publication

Journal of Family Medicine

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