Family Physicians Unite at National Conference Hosted by UKZN
The South African Academy of Family Physician’s 18th National Family Practitioners Congress, hosted by UKZN’s Department of Family Medicine in association with the national and provincial Departments of Health, was themed: “Population Based Medical Care: Moving Theory to Action.”
More than 250 doctors and nurses were addressed by the National Deputy Director-General for Health, Dr Yogan Pillay; KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, and the Dean of UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Busi Ncama.
The conference aimed to advance the course of Family Medicine in the country against the backdrop of implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI).
According to the Conference Organising Committee conveners, Dr Ruben Naidoo and Dr Andrew Ross, the focus of the NHI is on universal access through primary care and involvement with families and communities. Family practitioners are set to play a key role in the implementation of NHI as they are strategically positioned to respond to its unique challenges.
‘The conference was designed to present a wealth of clinically relevant topics and the breakaway sessions afforded delegates the opportunity to choose from a broad spectrum of themes to suit their particular interest,’ said Naidoo.
Welcoming delegates, he highlighted the scenario-based and interactive nature of each session, and later spoke about the incidence of rape in South Africa as well as ethics around HIV and AIDS.
Delegates attended sessions on teaching and learning, implementation research, adding value in the consultation, having a population perspective on health care and on clinical skills. The plenary sessions included a KM Seedat Memorial lecture on: Quality and Safety in Healthcare, delivered by Dr Carl de Wet of Griffiths University, Australia and a JC Coetzee Memorial Lecture presented by UKZN Professor Jack Moodley, reflecting on maternal mortality rates in South Africa.
Other UKZN speakers included Dr Mergan Naidoo, who conducted two workshops: one on sepsis and the other on surgical safety; Internal Medicine Head of Department, Dr Nombulelo Magula, who presented a case-based workshop on HIV and tuberculosis, and Professor Jamila Aboobaker and Dr Kimesh Naidoo who deliberated on Dermatology and Paediatrics respectively.
Newly appointed Head of UKZN’s Family Medicine Department, Bernhard Gaede, said ‘It was an honour to host the family medicine community here in Durban. It is clear from the discussions on the strategic imperatives of the NHI that family medicine is destined to play a far more central role in health service delivery and coordination.’