Better healthcare services linked to physicians’ knowledge, skills

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Family physicians being at the forefront in the healthcare system should constantly update their knowledge and skills for providing better healthcare facilities to the masses, said Dow University of Health Sciences Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr M. Umer Farooq. He said this while speaking at the inaugural session of Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme for family physicians held at the Attaur Rehman Lecture Hall, Dow Medical College on Wednesday.
The event intended the ultimate benefit of the patients through update of family physicians’ knowledge on the medical issues most commonly encountered by them in clinical practice. Farooq – also the Sindh Medical College principal – said that family physicians play a vital role in the healthcare scenario of the country, as they are the ones who provide primary care to a vast majority of the population.
Speaking on updates regarding diabetes, National Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology Director Dr Zaman Shaikh said that according to the figures of International Diabetes Federation, diabetes afflicts 285 million people worldwide and it is estimated that the figure will reach 438.4 million by the year 2030 (54 percent increase). Talking about the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA – which includes Pakistan), he said in this region, the number of people with diabetes mellitus is 26.4 million and the forecast for 2030 is 51.7 million (an increase of 94 percent).
“The situation in Pakistan is alarming and we rank seventh in the world with a current diabetic population of 7.1 million,” he said, adding ‘with an estimated prevalence of 7.6 percent at present, it is estimated that by 2030, we will have fourth largest diabetic population in the world (13.8 million).’
Ziauddin Medical University Department of Medicine Chairman and Postgraduate Studies Dean Prof Ejaz Ahmed Vohra said that approximately 88,000 people (35,615 males and 52,397 females) die in Pakistan per annum due to diabetes and its related complications.
“The mean health expenditure on diabetes mellitus is sadly only $24 per person in Pakistan in contrast with $55 in India. Even in a country like Afghanistan it is $33, while Nigeria spends $47, Sudan $52 and in Turkey the expenditure is as high as $571 per person,” he added.

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