By Aliye Runyan, MD
AMSA Education and Research Fellow
I recently attended the America's medical education meeting and IFMSA general assembly. There was very interesting and often passionate discussion on the importance of primary care, and how it is practiced in various countries in the Americas. There is consensus that quality of care is important, and that culturally sensitive standards for quality of medical care must be developed. Most agree than universal curricula are not the answer. The point was made that primary care is a critical part of comprehensive health care services, and not an end in itself – there is obvious need for specialists in many cases. The point was made that primary care must be incentivized, respected, and treated with the same standards as any other specialty, as well as taught (and experienced by students) from the first year of medical school. Using evidence based medicine was brought up multiple times – as this may not be the cultural norm.
Some of the faculty brought up criticisms of the Alma Ata declaration of 1978 (the first international declaration to underline the importance of primary care for all) by stating that it prompted some countries to focus on ...