CPD Articles

The contribution of family physicians and primary care doctors to community-orientated primary care

Robert Mash, Bernhard Gaede, Johannes F. Hugo
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 1| a5281 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5281 | © 2021 Bob J. Mash, Bernhard Gaede, Johannes (Jannie) F. Hugo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2021 | Published: 10 March 2021

About the author(s)

Robert Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Bernhard Gaede, Department of Family Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Johannes F. Hugo, Department of Family Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


South Africa envisages a community-orientated approach to primary health care (PHC). Family physicians and primary care doctors have important roles to play in leading, implementing, supporting and maintaining community-orientated primary care (COPC). In this article, we define COPC, its key principles and approaches to implementing it in health services. Following this we describe the key competencies expected of family physicians and primary care doctors in leading and supporting its implementation; providing clinical support to the PHC teams and linking these teams to other parts of the health system, other sectors and the community. The required knowledge and skills underlying these competencies are also discussed and some specific tools included.


primary healthcare; primary care; community orientated primary care; population health management; family physicians; general practitioners; primary care doctors


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