May 2024

The 2nd Family Medicine Conference was organised by the Department of Primary Care and Population Health at the University of Nicosia Medical School on 20 April 2024.

The event began with a welcome note from the Dean, Professor Adonis Ioannidis, followed by keynote speeches from Prof. Dr. med. Per. M. Humpert, Heidelberg, Germany, and Prof. Dr. med. Loant Baholli, Datteln, Germany, who discussed recent developments in heart failure and nutrition for patients with type 2 diabetes. The conference also covered treatments for lower urinary tract issues in men, sexually transmitted infections, antibiotic resistance, asthma, and studies on the burnout of personal doctors (PDs). Two practical workshops were held on secondary prevention of heart diseases and musculoskeletal joint examinations.

Supported by all local Associations of Family Doctors in Cyprus, the conference saw over 80 family doctors participate, who addressed critical issues in primary healthcare and discussed ways to improve service quality, including the following:

National Healthcare Guidelines (NHG): Presentations on heart failure, asthma, and male urinary tract conditions highlighted the need for NHG to manage diseases at the primary healthcare level. Harmonising these guidelines with European and international standards could improve patient management.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): The presentation on STIs emphasised the need for better recognition, investigation, and reporting by PDs. Historically, Cyprus has shown low recorded rates of HIV compared to other European countries, but STI mapping has been insufficient so far. Recent increases in recorded STI rates (excl. HIV) suggest more active checking and recording by PDs.

Unnecessary Use of Antibiotics: The workshop highlighted the issue of antibiotic overuse, leading to resistant microorganisms. Cyprus ranks second in the EU for antibiotic use, after Greece. Hospital-acquired infections and microbial resistance are rising, while the development of NHG would further raise public awareness in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use, and alleviate pressure on PDs from patients requesting antibiotics.

Quality Improvement: The workshop also addressed the difficulties faced by PDs due to quantitative restrictions imposed by the General Healthcare System (GHS). It proposed developing qualitative criteria instead of quantitative restrictions.

Dean Ioannidis stated that the conference was a significant step towards strengthening primary healthcare in Cyprus, emphasising the importance of collaboration with health professionals, academics, and scientific societies to promote research and education in Family Medicine.