The contribution of family physicians to district health services: a national position paper for South Africa

Robert Mash, G. Ogunbanjo, S. S. Naidoo, D. Hellenberg
South African Family Practice | Vol 57, No 3 : May/June| a4217 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 17 January 2015 | Published: 01 May 2015

About the author(s)

Robert Mash, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
G. Ogunbanjo, South African Academy of Family Physicians and College of Family Physicians of South Africa, South Africa
S. S. Naidoo, Department of Family Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
D. Hellenberg, Division of Family Medicine, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; and College of Family Physicians of South Africa, South Africa

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This position paper on Family Medicine in South Africa was written for the National Department of Health in 2014 for the purposes of delivering a comprehensive assessment of the contribution that family physicians could make to the health system, and the issues that need to be addressed in order to realise this contribution. The paper mainly addresses issues in the public sector. It outlines the policy environment, health and health services context, the contribution of family physicians, their role in relationship to other healthcare workers, the initial evidence of their impact, the implications for posts and career pathways and the current state of training programmes, as well as providing key recommendations. The paper represents the viewpoint of the South African Academy of Family Physicians and the College of Family Physicians of South Africa, and attempts to speak with one voice on the current situation and need for future action.


family physicians; district health services; position paper; National Department of Health; South Africa


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