Learning with yoyo’s in Cairo

Dr David Mazza, PCI’s clinician, describes his return to Cairo to assess progress made in the development of family medicine.

In July 2016, Tabibi 24/7 asked PCI to work with its healthcare professionals to enhance the delivery of primary care in Cairo. Having carried out the workshop over a year ago, I was delighted to return to run a two-day consultation skills workshop for the Tabibi primary health clinics. It was an invaluable opportunity to evaluate the development of family practice since the original training. I am delighted to report that the group of Tabibi family doctors showed clear signs that they had become a more supportive and interactive team with a shared ethos and commitment to family medicine. This is quite remarkable in Egypt where family practice is virtually unheard of and doctors tend to work in professional isolation. The Tabibi doctors demonstrated this in their constructive feedback for one another during the workshop, along with evidence of reflective practice.  They also spoke of the benefits of being part of such a supportive team.

The use of dramas and role plays gave participants opportunities to develop their consultation skills in a practical way. One session involved demonstrating that yo-yoing skills (like consultation skills) must be practiced rather than observed. A room full of Egyptian family physicians concentrating hard on their yo-yo technique will be a lasting memory of this workshop for me! The family practitioners valued the idea of using a problem-based, rather than diagnosis-based, approach when assessing patients. They also highlighted the value in generating a management plan to address these problems rather than simply focusing on “treatment”. This development fits well with the holistic care which Tabibi 24/7 is striving to provide.

The doctors attending the workshop all agreed that progress in family medicine requires a “cultural shift” amongst the public and amongst the medical profession where understanding is limited. Tabibi 24/7, with support from PCI, is working hard to continue to bring about this shift.