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RIYADH: A health campaign to highlight the importance of family doctors has been launched in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Health program, titled “For You and Your Family,” aims to publicize the wide range of services available at family clinics, primary health care centers and hospitals across the Kingdom.

Medical aid includes early detection of illnesses, appropriate interventions, curative care and ongoing monitoring of common community illnesses.

Professor and consultant of family medicine at King Saud University Medical City, Dr Lubna Al-Ansary, told Arab News: “Every family is unique, but family members tend to have a similar genetic predisposition and share the same habits related to lifestyle, to the perception of what the illness is, as well as their help-seeking behaviors.

Dr. Lubna Al-Ansary

“When all family members see the same doctor, it means communication about health and illness in the family is seamless.”

She said the practice helps doctors understand family dynamics and health risks, improve diagnoses, and plan comprehensive health management approaches.

When all family members visit the same doctor, it means that communication about health and illness in the family is smooth.

Dr. Lubna Al-AnsaryProfessor and Family Medicine Consultant King Saud University Medical City

“The family doctor is supposed to diagnose and treat 85-90% of patient problems; only 10-15% will be directed to other specialties,” Al-Ansary added.

She emphasized that the provision of good family medicine is the foundation of any effective health system and that all medical graduates should have work experience in the field.

By launching the initiative, ministry officials hope to help family physicians better understand the psychological state of patients, consider factors in their social environment, diagnose illnesses, provide medical counseling for symptoms and common complaints such as headaches and localized pain, and to provide early review services. for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Al-Ansary said, “These other specialties focus on depth, while family medicine focuses on breadth. Family medicine focuses on individuals and families and how to help them maintain their health while taking into account psychological and sociological aspects.

She noted that doctors need to be proactive in anticipating the future needs of families and preventing the development of diseases and complications, through health education, screening and early detection.

Chronic illnesses – non-communicable diseases – were on the rise, she added, but could often be treated with lifestyle changes that other family members could support.

“Another example is when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, like cancer, they are not the only patient because the whole family needs support to adapt and understand what may follow.”

Family physicians also provided referrals to other medical specialties for patients requiring advanced therapeutic or surgical procedures, as well as health planning and ongoing communication with individuals and their families.

In addition, Al-Ansary pointed out that primary health care centers provide services such as gastroenterology, cardiology, pediatrics, sexual health counseling and radiology.

“The new model of care—a program of Vision 2030—can only be properly implemented and sustained if there are enough well-trained family physicians who are financially satisfied, socially rewarded, and scientifically supported to keep up to date. , choose with their patients and families what is best for them and for meeting the needs of society as a whole,” she added.