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Today, May 19, world over, we mark the world Family Physician’s day. It is a day to have an introspection and evaluate our respective compliance to the principles of Family Medicine and our invaluable contributions to the overall health systems development, especially in the face of this global scourge.

Today, in the face of the ravaging global pandemic, the COVID 19, the theme has been carefully chosen to reflect the strategic position and roles of Family physicians in the management of the pandemic and beyond – -Family Doctors on the front, “First in, Last out”.

Without doubt, Family Physicians, by virtue of their training, are the first to respond to any healthcare crisis. Even before the onset of the epidemic, and subsequent pandemic, they already engage the community where they live and work, offering health promotion and preventive services. They engage in risk communication of the most reliable evidence-based practices in view of the impending epidemic. They are no doubt the first contact physicians, who with the highest index of suspicion, detect or suspect cases based on the respective case definition and institute the most appropriate response.

In addition, where cases are identified, often times, they are patients with multi-morbidities, who rely on the continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, care to the patients irrespective of their age or combination of multi-morbidities. They render their care in the most empathic manner, bearing in mind that ‘the Family Medicine Model of care, is the most compassionate model of care.

In the event of critical care and impending death, the Family physician will always be on ground to offer palliative care and end-of -life services, by involving the family, instituting anticipatory-grief counseling for both the patient and the family. In an event of death, he will aso be available to offer bereavement counseling and support for families as they go through the mourning process.
Invariably, the family physician is the first to get involved in the care process, he is also the last to exit the patient’s bedside and the family spheres.

Even when the pandemic is finally over, patients remain with their Family physicians to enjoy their comprehensive, coordinated and continuing care, irrespective of age, gender, or organ systems, solving more problems for the majority of the population .
Thus, Family Physicians are the “first in, The last out” in the overall care process. Dike, Victor O.

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