Medical doctors (MDs) without further specialization have received different terms in the African setting, such as medical officer in South Africa, general practitioner in Rwanda, medical doctor in Kenya. Wherever needed, we decided to refer to doctors without further training as MDs.|
General practitioners (GPs)
- in Nigeria are seen as family physicians (with further specialization), similar as in Europe
- in South Africa are seen as primary care doctors working in the private sector without further specialization
- in Rwanda are seen as medical doctors without further specialization working in hospitals
Due to this variety in terminology, we have not used the term GP, unless further explained in text.
Family physicians (FPs) are medical doctors with 2 to 4 years postgraduate training within the specialization of family medicine and registered as a specialist in the specific country.
The Discipline of Family Medicine could apply to more than one type of health professional (for example in SA family medicine also trains clinical associates and clinical nurse practitioners). Though in this article, we use the term discipline of FM as the medical specialty that deploys family physicians.
General (Medical) Practice was the name of the postgraduate discipline in West African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana at start of the programme. In the early 2000s this was changed to family medicine.