The Role of Pediatricians in Providing Greater-Quality Care for Children: An Ongoing Debate

The Children of today will be adults of tomorrow. It’s not the economical and natural resources but the quality of children and youth decides the kind of destiny that beackons the nation. Without harnessing this potential power-house, a nation and a society cannot think of developing economically, politically, socially and intellectually. But child healthcare is considered frequently as a secondary objective in the development of cost- containment health policies. The healthcare delivered to children by pediatrics vs general practitioners (GPs) was there dates back in the last century. Health authorities often consider children and adolescents to be an essentially healthy part of the population. And they are not a priority for health policy. 

According to recent data, by WHO, the number of primary care pediatricians is decreasing in countries like Europe? The negative effects of this have been shown by the significant unpreparedness of virtually all European health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many systematic studies reported that Pediatricians, are more effective than family doctors at addressing problems related to children in primary care. The research findings showed that pediatricians prescribed fewer antibiotics for viral infections; were more likely to adhere to clinical practice guidelines in cases of fever and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; dealt more effectively with other common childhood illnesses (e.g. asthma or otitis media); and achieved higher vaccination rates. Studies also indicate that pediatricians were more accurate than General Physicians in assessing the nutritional status of children and adolescents and in following the guidelines for diagnostic procedures and preventive programs for these conditions. Many the review reports that pediatricians were more diligent than GPs or other specialists in areas of clinical practice, such as the use of laboratory tests in the diagnosis and management of different conditions (streptococcal, celiac disease, diabetes mellitus, and early diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia), and referring to specialists for the pharmacologic treatment of psychiatric disorders.

To prolong the dispute between different professional figures about the primacy of their role in child healthcare is ultimately of little benefit to children. The key point of the debate is that children should be cared for by doctors adequately trained in pediatrics.

SOURCE- Rodrigo M. A. et. al. The Role of Pediatricians in Providing Greater-Quality Care for Children: An Ongoing Debate, The Journal of Pediatrics, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.12.065

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