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Fam Med. 2011 Jan;43(1):37-42.

Family medicine in Arab countries.

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Department of Health Behavior and Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.



Information on the practice of family medicine in Arab countries is scant. In this study we aim to describe the current state of the specialty in the region. This includes scope of practice, practice setting, training programs, and the numbers and profiles of their graduates.


A survey of leaders in family medicine in Arab countries was conducted between October 2008 and June 2009. The survey was administered in person or via e-mail. Snowball sampling was used to obtain at least two respondents from each country.


There are 31 family medicine residency programs in Arab countries graduating about 182 residents per year. In most Arab countries, the family physician to population ratio remains low. Most graduates work in clinical practice, and a large proportion of them are employed in government-run clinics. There is significant variability in the scope of practice among practicing physicians.


Family medicine continues to struggle for a clear identity worldwide. In the Arab world, where the specialty is relatively new, steps can be taken to better define our identity as a specialty and increase its desirability as a specialty.

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