Below are extracts from a news item on the BBC website. Full text here:

‘Simple self-care measures could end the need for millions of visits to GPs every year… Back pain is one of the most common causes for a GP visit yet the majority of cases can be treated with over-the-counter treatments and self care. The same is true, says the LGA, of other minor ailments, such as coughs, colds and indigestion…

‘Dr Ian Banks, of the Self Care Forum – a body made up of representatives from organisations including the Men’s Health Forum, Public Health England and the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Most people are entirely capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when they need it. “There will always be others however, who might need a bit more support to become empowered and confident in making the right health decision.”‘

Comment: The above relates to the National Health Service (UK). However, the same principle applies to all countries. More could be done to empower citizens, families and children with the healthcare information they need to provide basic health care. And to help them know when the patient needs to be transferred to a health facility. In the UK, there is an excellent website for patients called NHS Choices:  In low- and middle-income countries, the most promising method for delivering healthcare information to citizens is via mobile phones. The working group of the HIFA Project on Mobile Healthcare Information For All is campaigning for such information to be preloaded onto all mobile phones before sale.

Best wishes, Neil

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