Call for short reports: The African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine (PHCFM)
The contribution of family physicians to African health systems – an opportunity to tell your story
In many African countries, family physicians, specialists in family medicine, are a new professional cadre. In other countries, they may be more established, but numbers remain small, and there are still uncertainties about their roles and contribution to the health system. District health services are mainly offered through teams of community health workers, nurses, and clinical officers, but the value of having a family physician is less clear. A recent scoping review on family medicine in sub-Saharan Africa concluded that:
“Evidence of effectiveness and impact is still limited as the discipline is reasonably young in sub-Saharan Africa with low numbers of family physicians. Opposition due to lack of understanding remains, but the positive perceptions of key stakeholders and the motivation of family physicians, together with evidence from elsewhere, suggest that the discipline can fill a niche and potentially improve the quality of care. Political will and support are pivotal and will enable the discipline to create the critical mass to place family medicine at the forefront, reach universal health coverage, and contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals in sub-Saharan Africa.” 1
Our call for short reports on the contribution of family physicians to African health systems also dovetails with the World Health Organization designating 2021 the International Year of Health and Care Workers.
Family physicians frequently share stories with me of how they have made a difference to service delivery or contributed to strengthening district health services and primary health care. However, these stories are rarely captured for a wider audience and do not meet the criteria for original research.
In this call, we would like family physicians in the African context to share their stories as short reports in order to create a collection of narrative evidence of their contribution. This can also guide future research into the contribution of family physicians to health services.
Short reports should:
• Identify the focus of the report and why it is relevant or important to health services e.g. co-ordination of care, person-centeredness, continuity of care, comprehensiveness of care, quality of care for a specific condition, capacity-building of the team, community-orientation, patient safety
• Briefly describe your context
• Describe what was done by the family physician and whether this was something unique to their skills set as part of the team
• Describe the effect and how this contributed to strengthening district health services or primary health care.
• Wherever possible, some qualitative or quantitative evidence of the effect could be provided, for example, from routinely collected data.
Reports should describe actual experiences and their effects on health services. Reports that are only theoretical or philosophical will not be considered. Reports should not just describe an individual patient or clinical scenario, but speak to a broader impact on service delivery. Reports should be 800-1500 words, have no more than 1-2 Figures or Tables, a 250-word unstructured abstract, and 20 references or less. The usual publication fees and opportunities for waivers will apply. Reports will be peer-reviewed.
The call will be open from 1st February to 31st May 2021.
The short reports will be published by means of rolling publication in 2021, which means that we will need your article by 31st May 2021. To submit your article to the collection:
- Go to https://phcfm.org
- When you submit the article, select the “Short Reports – Special Collection: African Health Systems” as the article type. The submission portal will be accessible on https://phcfm.org.
- For more details on the editorial procedures, go to https://phcfm.org/index.php/phcfm/pages/view/publication-procedure.
1Flinkenflögel, M., Sethlare, V., Cubaka, V.K. et al. A scoping review on family medicine in sub-Saharan Africa: practice, positioning and impact in African health care systems. Hum Resour Health 18, 27 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-020-0455-4