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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 228-233

The dire need for primary care specialization in India: Concerns and challenges

Department of Community Medicine, J. N. Medical College, AMU, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Nafis Faizi
Department of Community Medicine, J. N. Medical College, AMU, Aligarh - 202 002, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.192382

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Primary health care is an evidence-based priority, but it is still inadequately supported in many countries. Ironically, on one hand, India is a popular destination for medical tourism due to the affordability of high quality of health care and, on the other hand, ill health and health care are the main reasons for becoming poor through medical poverty traps. Surprisingly, this is despite the fact that India was committed to 'Health for All by 2000' in the past, and is committed to 'Universal Health Coverage' by 2022! Clearly, these commitments are destined to fail unless something is done to improve the present state of affairs. This study argues for the need to develop primary care as a specialization in India as a remedial measure to reform its health care in order to truly commit to the commitments. Three critical issues for this specialization are discussed in this review: (1) The dynamic and distinct nature of primary care as opposed to other medical specializations, (2) the intersection of primary care and public health which can be facilitated by such a specialization, and (3) research in primary care including the development of screening and referral tools for early diagnosis of cancers, researches for evidence-based interventions via health programs, and primary care epidemiology. Despite the potential challenges and difficulties, India is a country in dire need for primary care specialization. India's experience in providing low-cost and high quality healthcare for medical tourism presages a more cost-effective and efficient primary care with due attention and specialization.

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