A new approach to family medicine in Egypt

PCI has just completed a training programme in Cairo with the innovative primary care organisation Tabibi24/7. In a recent study of Egyptian Medical Students, 90% of respondents agreed that family medicine (primary care} had a vital role to play in Egypt’s health care system but on 4% were considering it as a career option. Currently in Cairo, many doctors work in relative isolation and patients seek opinions on symptoms and conditions from a number of specialist doctors, often struggling to determine which advice they can trust. Dr Khalil Khalek founded Tabibi 24/7 as an organisation providing expert care for children but soon recognised that there is a need for high quality, evidence based primary care for all. His vision is that Tabibi (which is translated as “My Doctor”) will provide holistic, patient focussed services with a continuity of care which benefits both patients and clinicians.

To turn this vision into reality requires an effective team of doctors well trained in evidence based primary care and with excellent communication skills. PCI provided an intensive eight day training programme for the Tabibi family doctors, covering such topic as non-communicable disease, communication skills and clinical skills. PCI also developed a tailor made training of trainers course for a selected group of Egyptian doctors who will ensure that new recruits to Tabibi to this growing organisation will undertake an appropriate induction programme.

The Tabibi family practitioners were particularly enthusiastic about the PCI Field Guides, which offer a practical approach to providing evidence based care in a range a conditions including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. As once participant said, “An achievement of the course is to have the same guidelines for all to use. With this consistent approach, Tabibi is unique. There is no service like Tabibi in Cairo.  Our values and mission are different. And with this training from PCI, Tabibi is different in terms of how we deal with each other. Tabibi wants a better life for patients and for doctors. Before I could see what was going wrong but I was not a trainer. I didn’t know how to change things. Now, after the training, I feel I can change things.”

PCI will maintain an ongoing relationship with Tabibi 24/7 during the next 12 months and looks forward to continuing to work with this pioneering organisation as it aims to improve primary health care for the residents of Cairo.