FamPhy Pioneer, Dr.Soumik Kalita Pushing for a Person Centric Family Physician Based Healthcare Model for India
- by Admin
- 2021-06-28 04:52:59
At a time when the trend in the country is towards super specialty and tertiary care hospitals, branded doctors and more and more specialty doctors, there are those who have been questioning the directions medical service has been taking in India. To what extent does this trend serve the health care needs of India’s large and teeming population, most of whom constitute from the middle class to the poor.
One such doctor, passionately concerned over the health needs of the majority of our population, is Dr Soumik Kalita, who has been a strong advocate for the revamping of the primary health care system in India. He feels that investing mainly in tertiary care is not the solution for addressing the health care needs of our population. Dr Kalita wrote in his blog, “Tertiary care is less than 5% of the total health care needs of the people of India but consumes 90% of the resources”. Today the primary health care physicians who are responsible for filtering around 90% of the ailments are becoming a diminishing species and is also not part of the government’s agenda, he complains.
According to Dr Kalita in a typical Indian average household, an illness can be disastrous for the whole family. Even though there are government run public hospitals they are inadequate, and medical treatment, he says, is beyond the reach of millions in the country even after 70 years of independence.
“As a medical entrepreneur trying to create a sustainable business model, I sometimes feel like a mute onlooker to the obvious apathy around me”, he lamented.
Passion to Revive Primary Healthcare & Concept of Family Doctor
Despite the odds and the lack of encouragement, in pursuit of his passion to revive primary health care delivery in India he left his job as a Director in a multinational company to start FamPhy (www.famphy.com) – abbreviation for family physicians – which is a network of family physicians that work on the principle of “whole person medicine”.
Dr Kalita feels that since the over specialisation of doctors is creating a huge void in primary health care delivery, he is working to help doctors remain as GPs and training them in “person centered care” rather than a “system centered care”.
FamPhy is trying to revive the concept of the family doctor. They have built a network of qualified physicians trained in evidence based medicine who do home visits.
Dr Kalita remarked, “A home doctor to be successful has to abandon the ego or atleast manage the ego as he/she goes from one house to another to provide medical care. This job has been a great leveller for me on the personal front”. Dr Kalita quipped, “The job of a travelling doctor is interesting and unlike doctors bound by the four walls of their clinic or hospital, I have the privilege to see the lives of people from very close quarters, for a doctor it means that I am near enough to not only take care of the clinical aspect of the patient but also to understand the patient – as a person- in the social context of medical issues”.
Parents, His Inspiration
Dr Soumik, derives his inspiration from his doctor parents who retired from senior positions in the government of India. His parents worked in the remotest corners of India like Arunachal Pradesh (erstwhile NEFA) where there were hardly any motor able roads. There were days when his father would be out trekking with his team for weeks to remote villages to treat and immunise people. He had seen his parents manage the most difficult of cases where one of them would perform a surgery and the other would administer anaesthesia. His elder sister also followed on the footsteps of their parents and this motivated him also to appear for the medical entrance examination and study at the Guwahati Medical College in his home state of Assam. He went on to do his master’s degrees from CMC Vellore and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Beginning of His Career
Dr Soumik Kalita started his professional career in the late 1990s as a rural health doctor in a remote village in Gujarat, incharge of all heath related activities in the 30 villages under the jurisdiction of the Primary Health Centre. As a medical officer, one is responsible for implementing all national level health programs like immunization, family planning, leprosy eradication or the national TB programs. He was deputed as the zonal officer for liaison of work for the developmental programs in the district. This stint helped shape not only his future professional career but also helped him gain immense insight to rural healthcare in India. He has an experience of more than 20 years in several aspects of healthcare ranging from being a medical officer in a primary health centre in rural India, to being the first research scientist with the South Asian Cochrane Network & Centre. Dr Soumik Kalita was the founder of Prima Clinics which was the first chain of family practice clinics in India. He has worked as the Director of Nutrition & Medical Affairs, Family Nutrition in Glaxo SmithKline, an Associate Professor at SANCD under the aegis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Apart from his degree in medicine he has been trained in Critical Care Medicine, Family Medicine, Hospital Administration and was a Legacy Heritage scholar for the Masters of Public Health programme at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has also been trained in cardiovascular epidemiology and community oriented primary care. He has trained several health care professionals in epidemiology, evidence based health care and research methods. His main areas of interests are family medicine, lifestyle medicine, chronic disease epidemiology, systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and public health systems. Dr Kalita is a faculty of CMC Vellore where he trains doctors in India in Family Medicine. He is a faculty for the MBA Healthcare programme of RUDN University of Moscow and an examiner for masters’ students in the field of nutrition at SNDT University Mumbai.
Having worked in almost all aspects of healthcare from public health, primary health care, tertiary healthcare, research as well as in the industry, Dr Soumik has gained a huge insight into the field of healthcare which helps him to dabble between active clinical practice, healthcare research and entrepreneurship.
He is a long distance runner, a cyclist and also practices lifestyle medicine.
Dr Soumik has more than 50 peer reviewed international publications and has been a speaker at several national and international medical conferences. He has been featured in several newspapers and journals as a researcher, healthcare provider and an entrepreneur.