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Press Release: Zuri Health hosts first free medical camp at Kawangware

  • 978 took part in the check-up camp and received treatment.
On 11th December 2021, Zuri Health conducted its first free medical health camp in collaboration with CheckUps Medical Hub, Health & Wellness Solutions, Nairobi Metropolitan Health Department at Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya Church (FPFK) located in Kawangware. The aim of hosting the free medical camp was to provide medical attention to the less privileged and to raise awareness about the importance of regular checkups in detecting and curbing chronic ailments early. It was also aimed at providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the common mwananchi who cannot afford quality healthcare services.  The camp included free general medical consultation, Blood pressure monitoring and management, Blood sugar monitoring and management, Body Mass Index measurement, Urinalysis test and community health education and sensitization. The Medical camp was organized in association with CheckUps Medical Clinic with Kenya’s first ultramodern mobile clinic fully equipped with X-rays, lab and diagnostics, HWS mobilized doctors, clinical officers, and nurses, and the Nairobi Metropolitan Health Department for provision of the necessary permits and medical prescriptions. The total number of patients attended to during the health camp was 978 including men, women and children across all ages receiving much needed free, quality health care from our qualified medical personnel. The 16-member team included doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and lab technicians who handled various issues of health for the locals. A free physical examination along with free blood sugar and blood pressure tests were provided.  The team identified 67% of the patients had underlying issues such as high blood sugar, blood pressure issues they were unaware of, and 49% of the patients were referred to specialized care for better monitoring.  “As part of our promise in delivering quality and affordable healthcare to all populations regardless of social strata, Zuri Health is strategizing on a nationwide campaign to serve a larger number of people in need of assistance of a similar nature”, said Ikechukwu Anoke, Co-founder, and CEO Zuri Health. End. Media Contact: louize@zuri.health About Zuri Health Zuri Health is a mobile app that helps patients to access and book certified healthcare services on-demand based on availability, location and specialization of the provider, aiming to provide affordable and accessible healthcare solutions via mobile with dedicated apps, wap and SMS services easily and quickly in the palm of patients’ hands. Zuri Health mobile service allows patients to book appointments instantly simply by logging in through mobile devices. Time slots and availability are also indicated, saving time and resources. Download the app at www.zuri.health

Safiri na Zuri: Is travelling safe with COVID-19 variants

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

This time last year, deciding whether to go to visit relatives, or even go to the shop - let alone hop a flight — seemed like a mind-bending puzzle. This is December, we are having an easier time making the choice to travel. Whenever possible, travellers are recommended to get vaccinated against or tested for COVID-19 before travelling. You are less likely to get or spread COVID-19, you are at a higher risk of exposure to virus variants. The vaccines are only 90 or 95 percent effective.  Avoid places where the vaccination rate is low or where the COVID-19 numbers are high or rising. If you are traveling out of the country, you might also need vaccinations or medicines to prevent specific illnesses. Which ones you need will depend on what part of the world you're visiting, this time of year. Foreign travel is generally easier for people who have been fully vaccinated. Although usually not a mandatory entry requirement, especially for essential trips, vaccinated passengers may be exempt from entry restrictions such as pre-departure testing and quarantine. There are two different types of tests used to detect COVID-19. One is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which looks for traces of the virus’s genetic material and is sensitive enough to detect infection in its earliest stage. These tests are available at dedicated COVID-19 testing sites, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and the like, with samples sent to a lab that typically provides results in one to several days. The other main kind of diagnostic test is an antigen test, also known as a rapid test, which detects the presence of a specific molecule that implies a current viral infection but does not document it directly, making it a bit less accurate. Results are available within minutes, which is why this is the type of test used at home. This year, many parts of the world are fully reopening, but certain activities will be safer than others. While you can do much more than you could last year, you might want to hold off on certain dicey choices. To be safe, keep a safe distance from others, wash your hands frequently, and wear a well-fitting mask while you’re flying or taking public transportation, even if you’re vaccinated. At Zuri health, we know meeting your loved ones during this festive season is imperative. We understand it matters to take the necessary precautions. You can easily book a COVID-19 test via the app, and get results within 6 hours at the comfort of your home. Travelling soon for the festive season? Book a test today!    

Benefits of a Regular Health Check Up

We live in the century of the hustle and fast-paced life, where technology has become the biggest substructure and on which we humans are always on the run. Barely taking the time for ourselves, we do not eat properly, get enough sleep, exercise or lead a healthy lifestyle, added to these are the environmental factors. While these may manifest and hint in our health in discrete ways, we tend to overlook them presuming that they are petty and trivial, until things get ugly and our health is in neck-deep trouble. The reason why you should be getting checked by your doctor even when you are feeling healthy is that medical exams can help detect health problems early on. Sometimes they can be detected before they have even started. Once the problem has been detected the doctor can help you with treatment and even a cure which ultimately gives you a better chance at a happy, healthy and longer life. Of course, your age, health, family history and lifestyle choices will affect how often you need to receive a check-up at your health practitioner. Do not wait until you are sick before you pay a visit to the doctor for what should be a routine examination. Make it a habit to take care of yourself and your health by making regular appointments with your doctor throughout your life. Regular health checks are vital for 3 reasons:
  • Health problems can be detected at an early stage before they develop into something much more serious.
  • A screening test can detect and prevent a serious illness like cancer.
  • Preventing health problems from becoming chronic can save you money.
In an endeavour to raise health awareness to the local people and encourage the importance of regular health checkups. Zuri health shall be conducting a free medical camp in partnership with Checkups Medical Hub at Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya, Kawangware on Sat, 11th of Dec. All are invited.

Zuri Health goes live in Senegal in partnership with Expresso Senegal

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Expresso Senegal as Zuri Health Launches in Senegal! Expresso Senegal, a subsidiary of the Expresso Telecom group is a telecommunication operator in Senegal that offers services adapted to the internet, calls, and SMS with the 4G technology and business and roaming solutions. Our partnership is aimed at revolutionizing e-health in Senegal and Africa at large. We see the application of mobile technologies in the healthcare industry as a way to provide high-quality and easily accessible medical care at a lower cost. “It is with great satisfaction that Expresso Senegal and Zuri Health are launching together with the health app under the name Zuri Health. This is a major innovation in the Senegalese healthcare ecosystem, allowing our company to once again contribute to the solution of the challenges the population faces in accessing a first-resort physician for guidance and referrals.” Says Radi Almamoun, Acting CEO at Expresso Senegal. This partnership will give us the ability to provide value across the entire chain by merging technology and healthcare. An Expresso subscriber in Senegal simply sends a keyword to 28008 to subscribe to the service and begins to chat and consult with a doctor via SMS. The patients will get real-time and reliable responses from certified doctors, affordable healthcare and secure and protected private health information. The majority of users in Senegal who may not have access to internet-enabled devices or smartphones will now have the opportunity to receive first-level medical consultations from qualified medical professionals through the SMS platform. "We are very excited to be working with Expresso Senegal as our Telco partner in Senegal. At Zuri Health, we have taken into cognizance Africa's unique challenges and offered medical consultation via SMS service to take care of the over 65% of the population without access to smartphones or the internet. Patients are now able to consult with a doctor for as low as 30 CFA franc. Our commitment to offering quality, affordable and accessible healthcare is the key reason we have partnered with Expresso Senegal.”- noted Ikechukwu Arthur Anoke, Founder and C.E.O at Zuri Health.

We Stand With Red: HIV/AIDS Awareness

A virus that diproportonatly affect the continent with over twenty million reported cases, Africans are no stranger to HIV/AIDS. Over the last two decades steps have been taken by the healtcafe sectors to raise awareness about the various and it treatment. One of the biggest steps as a continent toward raising awareness is gradual changing of our mindset from one of condemnation and ostracization to understand and inclusion. On this World Aids Day we delve deeper and break don the important aspect of this virus. What Is HIV? HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells of the immune system, affecting the body’s ability to fight infections and making a person more vulnerable to those infections. HIV is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex or through sharing needles. If HIV is not treated, it can therefore lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) which is the late stage of HIV infection, and it happens when the immune system becomes badly damaged due to HIV.  When does the patient develop AIDS? 
  • When the number of their CD4 cells falls below 200 cells/mm3. 
  • OR when the patient develops one or more opportunistic infections regardless of their CD4 count.
CD4 cells are the type of white blood cells that fight infection. HIV destroys CD4 cells and as the immune system loses CD4 cells, it becomes weaker. When the loss of these cells become to large, the patient risks getting AIDS-related opportunistic infections. A CD4 cell count is an indicator of the immune function in HIV  patients. Treatments  There is still no effective cure for HIV, but there are multiple medications that can control the disease and this helps the patient to live a long and healthy life. some also work to prevent HIV transmission to the sexual partner and children born to mother infected with the virus. The most effective treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy (ART). This is a combination of several medications that can control the amount of the virus in the body. ART slows the rate at which the virus grows. Other treatment for HIV/AIDS include PrEP(pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prevention method for people how are HIV-negative and have high risk to be exposed to the virus, they can get antiretroviral medication to prevent acquisition of HIV infection.  PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is the use of antiretroviral medications for people who are HIV-negative after a high-risk exposure to HIV infection (exposure can be through sex or sharing needles with infected person). It should be started as soon as possible to be effective. Research by: Mariam Alsulimani

The Ghosts of Africa: PTSD on the African Continent

A sound, A movement, a color, or a feeling, and suddenly you find yourself in a different time and place reliving a moment. You become anxious, your palms become sweaty, start to tremble, and no matter what you do you can't get out. Many people experience some, if not all, of the above and more. Most times they don't even know what is going on, they don't know that their reactions are a result of some traumatic event that their brain hasn't worked out or recovered from. Many suffer in silence without knowing better. In this article, we look at the phenomenon of PTSD breaking down what it is and its effect, especially on the African continent.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or serious injury. The disorder has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II. It is important to note that the disorder does not only happen to combat veterans and can occur in people, of any age, ethnicity, or nationality.  The symptoms can vary from person to person and are generally grouped into four types:   Intrusive memories may include: Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories, flashbacks nightmares or Severe emotional distress, or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event Avoidance may include: Avoiding thinking or talking about the traumatic event, Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event Negative changes in thinking and mood may include: Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world, Hopelessness, Memory problems relating to the traumatic event, Difficulty maintaining close relationships. Changes in physical and emotional reactions may include: Being easily startled or frightened, Always being on guard for danger, Self-destructive behavior, Trouble sleeping, Trouble concentrating, Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior, Overwhelming guilt or shame.  

PTSD in Africa

At least 100 million Africans are estimated to have PTSD caused by wars, terror attacks, natural disasters, sexual abuse, and chronic violence. In countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and South Sudan, as much as half of the population may suffer from PTSD. “PTSD blocks the education process, it blocks the creativity, it blocks family relationships… When you spend 100-150 dollars... you will have people able to study better, run their own businesses, and live a happy life,” These are the words of David Shapiro, President of African PTSD Relief. Little has been done to identify and treat PTSD in low-resourced sub-Saharan African (SSA) settings where multiple civil and tribal wars, social strife, and natural disasters have led to mass exposure of the population to traumatic events.  Several reasons could explain the poor identification and treatment of PTSD in SSA. First, some patients have spiritual and cultural beliefs that are different from conventional psychiatry and find meaning in the process of consulting traditional healers. Some individuals don’t volunteer information to health care workers due to stigma and a general lack of knowledge that PTSD is a medical condition.  Moreover, comorbidities such as substance use disorders which may have progressed from substance use as a coping strategy by individuals suffering from PTSD may negatively impact the clinician’s ability to diagnose PTSD. The considerations of efficiency are especially critical in a context of Africa where millions of people need immediate help, yet governments are severely constricted by resources. Furthermore, access to mental health care and severe shortages of trained mental health care staff hampers the identification and treatment of PTSD. An average of 1.4 mental health workers are available per 100 000 persons in Africa compared to the global average of 9 per 100 000. Progress has been made over the last few years as a result of global trends that recognize the importance of good mental health. Psychiatrists and other medical professionals have had success in treating PTSD using a variety of treatment methods to help people who suffer from the disorder. Some of these methods include: Medication. This is the most famous form of therapy. This is because of the bad reputation it gets as a result of reports of prolonged substance abuse to additive medications. However, when administered correctly This form of therapy can help to control the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressant medications are particularly helpful in treating the core symptoms of PTSD. An added advantage is that these medications are non-addictive and help treat PTSD even when depression is not present. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This treatment focuses on coping with the PTSD sufferer's painful and intrusive patterns of behavior by teaching them relaxation techniques and examining their mental processes. Discussion/Support Groups. This method encourages survivors of similar traumatic events to share their experiences. In doing so, group members offer support to help each person realize that they are not alone in their reactions or emotions. Counseling and Debriefing. Trauma counseling is another effective way of coping with the experience. The person may go for individual sessions where he or she can talk through the experience and work through the painful feelings such as anger, sadness, and guilt. Ways of coping with the symptoms can be explored. Debriefing is a form of crisis intervention that is used when a group of people have been through a traumatic event together. It is a structured group meeting that allows for each group member to vent their feelings and reactions to the event(s). Family therapy. The behavior of the spouse and children has been shown to affect the individual suffering from PTSD. Family members often report their loved ones don't communicate, show affection, or share in the family life. By working with the family, the members can learn to recognize and cope with the range of emotions felt by the sufferer and the spouse and children.  

The Future of Mental Health: VR Therapy

Throughout the past decade, we as humans have enacted many changes to improve our living conditions, from a rise in climate change discussions to discussions on race and gender equality. One of the biggest shifts this past decade was the acceptance and destigmatization of mental health issues. Over the past few years, we have slowly and surely pushed forward the conversation of mental health awareness from discussions of work-life balance to detection and treatment of mental health-related medical issues. Existing treatments have been re-evaluated and new therapies developed tapping into the tech industry, to aid an ever-growing populace of people actively putting their mental health first.  One such breakthrough is VR Therapy. In this article, we will break down this emerging technology looking at what it means for the world in general and its feasibility on the African continent.

What is VR Therapy and How does it work? 

Virtual reality therapy (VRT), also called virtual reality exposure therapy, allows the patient receiving the treatment to enter a virtual (simulated) world that is carefully constructed to increase their exposure to negative stimuli, so as to build resilience and emotional strength when placed in the real world.  VRT makes use of a virtual world created by VR technology to put a patient in situations you can learn from. Previous iterations were simply programs loaded onto a computer, that a patient would work through, and based on the conditions sought to be treated. However, with the breakthrough of the VR headset, current therapies make extensive use of the complete immersion that is offered for a much-improved experience and treatment. Already the technology has been put to use in treatments for several conditions including:
  • Fear of flying, public speaking, and spiders
  • School phobia in children
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
 

Reception and Acceptance

Early results of VRT have largely been positive. Recent studies have found that the VRT was as good as a combination of drug therapy and VR therapy, where some situations showed drug therapy alone led to a worse outcome for patients.  Already the technology has found success in various applications around the world. It has long since been used by the US government to treat PTSD in soldiers from as early as the 1990s. The Canadian government also purchased the software from America in hopes of implementing it among their own soldiers. The main drawback to this form of therapy however is the cost of the equipment and programs needed. Because of this, virtual reality therapy isn't readily available to the masses. This type of therapy can also cause what is known as VR sickness. People who have this condition due to prolonged exposure to a VR environment may experience flashbacks, motion sickness, vertigo, seizures, and antisocial or nervous behavior. These symptoms are most likely to occur after 30 minutes or more of VR therapy. 

VRT in Africa

While still an emerging form of treatment, several institutes in Africa have seen the advantages such technology can bring. The biggest problem for Africa remains acceptance and cost. Africa as a continent still struggles with the acceptance of mental health as a medical issue and it is not uncommon for mental health struggles to go undiagnosed due to a severe lack of specialists or to be misdiagnosed when they are known. Traditional ideas also play a part as the more overt mental health illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are often attributed to curses or possessions in the more traditional societies. The cost of the therapy also plays a role in the lack of research and use of VRT.  As a developing continent, most African countries spend their budgets on agriculture, development, and projects for economic growth.  More often than not medical research institutes have to rely on limited budget allocations or foreign intervention. Even when the funds are available, priority is given to the eradication of prevalent diseases such as malaria or childhood malnutrition. However, this does not mean that research into VRT is quiet. Gerard Finnemore a clinical psychologist from South Africa uses Virtual Reality for relaxation and mindfulness training and will soon be incorporating it into treating other conditions.  In Egypt researcher Ahmad Al-kabbany is pioneering virtual reality (VR) therapy in the city of Alexandria despite the region’s economic challenges. “We’re not aiming at making it accessible for everyone not because we don’t want to but we need to deal with the financial conditions as they are,” says Al-Kabbany In Nigeria, the startup company VMedKit has developed content to facilitate VRT which could also be used for personal wellness and meditation. The company, officially launched in 2018 and aims to make mental health care accessible to Nigerians and Africans in general. However, VMedKit is not the first company in Africa to undertake such an endeavor. The startup VRHealth launched in 2017 in South Africa. As of the writing of this article, the startup seems to have gone quiet with little about its operations being known. The future of VRT as a viable form of therapy remains hopeful as the prices of VR equipment become more affordable and research into the field continues to grow.

Zuri Health 2.0: The new look of mHealth

CEO and Co-founder Ikechukwu officially launching Zuri 2.0 CEO and Co-founder Ikechukwu officially launching Zuri 2.0 Our Beautiful host and MC Atemi Our Beautiful host and MC Atemi Testimonial from a satisfied Zuri Pharmacist Testimonial from a satisfied Zuri Pharmacist Dr Moka weighing in on the growth of telemedicine Dr Moka weighing in on the growth of telemedicine Ikechukwu discussing the advantage of Zuri Health Ikechukwu discussing the advantage of Zuri Health CPO and Co-founder Daisy officially launching Safiri na Zuri CPO and Co-founder Daisy officially launching Safiri na Zuri CPO and Co-founder Daisy officially launching Safiri na Zuri Dr Annor- Frempong joining us from Ghana Dr Annor- Frempong joining us from Ghana Ms Inuoha Joining us from Nigeria Ms Inuoha Joining us from Nigeria On the 30th of July 2021 Play Zuri launched an upgraded version of its flagship mobile app, Zuri Health. Zuri Health 2.0 was unveiled with exciting new features and an over-hauled new look. Also launched was a new product under the Zuri Health banner tagged Safiri na Zuri. The new Zuri Health provides better connectivity and communication for our users. We have done this by having several dedicated apps for the different clientele we hope to work with. There are now dedicated patient and doctor apps that allow for seamless connectivity between patient and doctor for faster and effortless communication. Each app caters to the specific needs of the intended user. The Zuri Patient app allows patients to connect directly with our services. They can book appointments with doctors, order medication and lab tests, as well as speak to qualified doctors and specialists for a monthly or yearly subscription. Patients will be able to book telemed sessions, and receive prescriptions and lab orders over the app. Patients can also upload and give their doctors access to their medical records for faster and efficient service. The Zuri Doctor app caters to doctors in all the ways that matter from allowing them to set their own schedule to directly interacting with patient requests. Doctors can see requests for appointments in real-time and accept or decline based on their schedule. They can request and access patient records and history, send prescriptions, order lab tests, and set follow-up appointments over telemed or in person. We hope to launch several more apps catering to other clients such as pharmacies and labs in the near future. The launch of Safiri na Zuri is an initiative aimed at reducing the hassle of travelers during the pandemic. With countries having specific travel restrictions and requirements we created a product that benefits the traveler by eliminating the need to personally search for and book a COVID Test for travel while ensuring that the test also comes with a Trusted Traveler certificate needed for travel. This service can also be accessed for the return trip should the traveler be heading to several specific destinations such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa with more to come. Travelers booking under Safiri Na Zuri are also given free access to Zuri healths Doctor-on-Duty for 30 days where they can consult with qualified doctors and specialists from anywhere in Africa. This product also allows us to partner with travel agencies, tour companies, and airlines, taking on the hassle of scheduling and booking such tests for their clients without them needing to worry about the logistics. Partners also receive a 20% commission from all tests done by their clients. For more information, press only: Jordan Edokpolo 0742820051 jordan@zuri.health For more information on Product: daisy@zuri.health

A Welcome Loss

Weight Loss: The Myths and Facts

Bodyweight has become a rather topical and controversial topic over the past five years. This is partly due to social media and especially the rise of platforms such as Instagram that allow its users to share photos about their lives. Weight and body shape have been at the center of this. That being said, bodyweight is very much a medical issue as it is linked to many medical conditions as both a symptom and a cause. Oftentimes when we go in for full medical check-ups this issue is brought up and we may be told that we need to lose a few kilograms. Shockingly this isn't true for everyone and some people are actually told to gain weight(but we won’t  get into that in this article)   Not everybody needs to lose weight but if you want or need to, here are some pointers to help you do so and some myths to avoid following.

Myth: It's all about the exercise 

Verdict: False Fact: Losing weight is actually more about your lifestyle than solely your workout routine. Imagine eating a five-piece chicken meal with large chips and a soda for every meal and expecting to lose weight simply because you go to the gym three times a week. Besides the other health risks of this diet, you may actually find that you gain more weight. Most of the weight we lose comes from the food we eat, about 70% actually. Eating less also isn’t always the answer. If you are eating rather large portions during each meal then a reduction in meal size is a benefit. However, for most of us this isn’t necessary, and doing so might actually have adverse effects and affect your workouts. You might also be thinking “well I'll just exercise harder and more frequently”. This can actually be detrimental when you start working out. Besides the fact that you may not be giving your muscles enough recovery time, overworking them can make you sick the next day or lead to muscle tears which is a whole other kettle of fish.

Myth: *insert exercise* only reduces stomach fat

Verdict: False Fact: When we exercise, we burn fat from all over our body, not just in the area we are ‘targeting’. This misconception comes from the fact that when we work on a specific area of our body, for example, our legs, we see more definition and change in that area. This however is merely muscle definition and in no way is a representation of the fat content.

Myth: I need to vary my exercises

Verdict: True Fact: For the best impact it's best to keep it varied but simple. Doing cardio, lifting weights, mixing in some compound workouts such as deadlifts, squats pull-ups, etc achieves the best results. Ditch the new health craze workouts and stick to the tried and tested methods.

Myth: Sleep affects weight loss

Verdict: True Fact: Sleeping affects how much weight you lose as well. For example, when we are fatigued we are less likely to want to do physical activities. You may end up opting to use a car service instead of the usual fifteen-minute walk to and from the office(yes those thirty minutes are beneficial). Sleep also helps in regulating our hormones, including the hormones leptin (the hunger hormone) and ghrelin, the “feeling full” hormone. Without adequate sleep, these hormones might not function properly, leading to you feeling hungry or not feeling full when you eat.

Myth: Do your stretches first

Verdict: False Fact: Getting your blood pumping before a workout is a common practice so we stretch before we get into it. In reality, it is really not necessary and can sometimes even be problematic especially when we don't stretch properly. Rather than stretching before a workout do it after as a form of post-workout cool down just before hitting the showers.

Myth: I need to lift weights

Verdict: True Fact: Lifting weights does a whole lot more than strengthening and defining the muscles in the forearm. It also boasts a whole lot of other benefits such as increased metabolic rate which burns more fat, improving your hormonal profile, sleep, and balance. So while you should still get your cardio work-out e.g. running don’t forget to add weights to your routine. Remember not to mix your workout. Don't lift weights during the same session as you are doing cardio to allow for recovery. So if you focus on weights on a Wednesday,  take a jog on the treadmill on Friday.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

The Benefits of having a Family Doctor

You’ve probably come across the phrase ‘family doctor’ or ‘Family physician’ but if you haven’t, that’s ok. In what follows we will talk about what you need to know regarding having a family doctor and why you probably need one.

What is a family doctor?

First, we need to talk about family medicine. Family medicine is a 'specialty' field of medicine that focuses on giving holistic care to people of all ages and genders. The foundation of family medicine is based on the relationship between the patient and the physician and emphasizes preventive and integrated care.  It is safe to say that a family doctor is a medical practitioner that specializes in this field. The word specialty here is a misnomer as they don't really specialize in a particular area of medicine, but rather treat the whole person supporting their patients through different medical needs from births, chronic illness, and end-of-life care.

Family Doctor v General Practitioner

You may have also heard of a General Practitioner or a GP and are wondering what is the difference? Well for the most part there is little difference as they generally do the same jobs. However, they differ in some ways which are explored below.  Family doctors focus on meeting the needs of the whole family. They also usually receive training in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and geriatrics in addition to general medicine. Due to this, a patient can often receive all the care they need in one location. They also mainly focus on preventive care as they treat you through all stages of your life. GPs on the other hand also see patients of any age (usually doesn't include infants) but don't tend to specialize in one area. This means that should further, specific care be needed, they will often refer you to a specialist. General practice doctors tend to focus on the treatment of acute conditions.

Why do you need one?

Family doctors deal with the person as a whole and through all stages of their life. This means that should you have a family doctor they are very well versed in your medical history as well as that of your family. This means that they often have a clearer picture of your medical needs and can focus on preventative care as well as diagnose issues that a GP might not be able to due to knowing your family's history. For example, because Dr. FD has treated your parents and you, you may bring your child in with symptoms of tiredness and irritability, and lightheadedness. In addition to the general tests, he may look for signs of diabetes as on your father's record it is noted that his mother had diabetes putting the family at an increased risk. A GP might have just treated the symptoms, leading you to have multiple follow-up visits.

What are the cons?

The truth? There isn't any downside to having a family doctor (at least none that I could find.) However, in the interest of fairness here are some things that one should watch out for when it comes to having a family doctor.

Finding a Family Doctor

The basis of this specialization of medicine in the patient-doctor relationship emphasis on relationship. This means that you need to be comfortable with whichever physician you choose. This process might require you to shop around a bit which can be frustrating. However, always remember that the doctor you choose may be with you for a long time treating you and your current or future family so you need to be 100% comfortable telling them everything, even things that are not necessarily medical.

Cost 

It's natural that the cost of things rises as time goes on, that's just the reality of life. Usually, if your doctor is part of a small family practice this isn’t a problem as you may be able to work out a payment schedule should the cost start to rise too much. This may become problematic should the practice be owned or bought by a larger corporation. They may set their own prices, which are out of your budget and may also not allow for structured payments, ultimately forcing you to find a  different doctor.

Retirement

Just like with any job, doctors do retire. This may be a problem that presents itself if you have an older doctor, most usually as a result of the fact that they have been your doctor for a long time (Maybe they initially treated your parents when they were younger). This again will lead to you having to find another doctor.   These situations are just some to watch out for. In any case, if it seems that you would not be continuing with your regular doctor ask them to recommend someone for you  
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