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25th June, 2017
Family physicians are the need of the hour

With a population of more than a billion (~1.32 billion), India is facing a shortage of doctors, establishment and beds. Presently, India has one doctor for every 1700 people against the WHO recommended norm of 1 doctor for every 1,000 people. There are not enough doctors to take care of the health needs of all.
 
This is the time to bring back the age-old concept of 'Family physician'. Unlike a General Practitioner, a family physician looked after all the health needs of a family, even many generations of a family, regardless of his/her specialization. They not only treat, but also provide preventive health care to the family being aware of the family history and was the link between the patient and the specialist. Considered a part of the family, he was an integral part of all important family functions and events. All in all, he was a 'friend, philosopher and guide' of the family.
 
For good health outcomes, a physician has to be aware of the social determinants of health i.e. the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. It is important to know the socio-economic circumstances of a patient, because these influence outcomes. Family physicians address the social determinants of health.
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Timely diagnosis of congenital heart disease imperative for right treatment
About 1.8 lakh babies in India are born with congenital heart disease, which may occur due to genetic factors

New Delhi, 24 June 2017: About 8 out of every 1000 children in India are born with a congenital heart disease (CHD) resulting in about 1.8 lakh babies born every year with a CHD. Of these, about 60,000 to 90,000 have critical CHD, which requires an immediate intervention. Children with high-risk CHD can die if not diagnosed in time and this makes early diagnosis extremely important. Some chhildren with uncorrected heart defect may survive into adulthood and require intervention later.
 
Congenital heart disease is a result of a defect in the formation of the heart. Care should be taken to avoid medications or alcohol etc. that are likely to interfere with organ formation in the fetus to lower the risk of CHD. Newborns with critical CHD exhibit symptoms that can be identified soon after birth. However, in some cases diagnosis is not possible till a later time.
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