The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) is a not-for-profit organization and was founded in 1972 by member organizations in 18 countries. WONCA now has 118 Member Organizations in 131 countries and territories with a membership of about 500,000 family doctors and more than 90 percent of the world’s population. WONCA has seven regions, each of which has its own regional Council and run their own regional activities including conferences. WONCA South Asia Region is constituted by the national academies and colleges and academic member organizations of this region namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives. In the background of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the office bearers, academic leaders, practitioners, and researchers of primary care from the South Asia Region have issued a solidarity statement articulating the role of primary care physicians.
With declaration of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 by World Health Organization, India came to alert for its being at next potential risk. It reached alert Level 2, i.e. local transmission for virus spread in early March 2020 and soon thereafter alert Level 3, i.e. community transmission. With on-going rise in COVID-19 cases in country, Government of India (GoI) has been taking multiple intense measures in coordination with the state governments, such as urban lockdown, active airport screening, quarantining, aggressive calls for ‘work from home’, public awareness, and active case detection with contact tracing in most places. Feedback from other countries exhibits COVID-19 transmission levels to have shown within country variations. With two-third of Indian population living in rural areas, present editorial hypothesizes that if India enters Level 3, rural hinterland would also be at risk importation (at least Level 1). Hence, we have to call for stringent containment on rural-urban and inter-state fringes. This along with other on-going measures can result in flattening curve and also in staggering ‘lockdowns’, and thus, helping sustain national economy.
Urgent care practice (UCP) is a novel concept for India. Urgent care primarily deals with injuries or illnesses requiring immediate care. Medical emergency and urgency can happen anywhere unannounced. Research has shown that 90% of the morbidities can be resolved within the community by primary care physicians lead teams. Given the changing professional demands, non-specialists tend to refer away far too many cases to specialists, undermining generalist medical care, particularly in Indian settings.