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  • 1 The Aga Khan University Family Medicine Stadium Road P. O. Box 3500 Karachi 74800 Pakistan
  • 2 The Aga Khan University Karachi Pakistan
  • 3 The Aga Khan University Community Health Sciences Karachi Pakistan
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Background: Consultations in primary health care are considered ideal for opportunistic health promotion. A need exists to study opportunistic health promotion practiced in our setting. Objectives: To study opportunistic health promotion among family practice patients visiting a teaching hospital for treatment. Methods: A Questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted at the Family Practice Center, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, in July and August, 2005. It included demographic profile of the patients and questions based on study objective. Written informed consent was taken and confidentiality was ensured. SPSS computer software was used for data management. Results: 274 patients were interviewed. The mean age of the respondents was 37 years, a majority being married housewives, with above grade X education, and in private service, student or self-employed. Reasons for visit during which opportunistic care was explored were regular check-up, chest pain, palpitations, and heart problem, antenatal care, orthopedic and eye problems and hypertension/ diabetes mellitus in 139 (50.8%), 43 (15.7%), 26 (9.5%) 20 (7.4%) and 9 (3.3%) cases, respectively. 259 (94.5%) patients want a doctor to provide opportunistic health promotion, while it was provided to 160 (58.4%) patients. Tobacco use was asked, and advice provided on diet, physical exercise, immunization and weight control in 109 (39.8%), 182 (66.4%), 165 (60.2%), 72 (26.3%) and 207 (75.5%) cases, respectively. Advice to check serum cholesterol was provided in 140 (51.1%) cases. Patients were screened for heart disease, cancers, and depression in 111 (40.5%), 82 (29.9%) and 120 (43.8%) cases, respectively. Blood pressure was checked in 234 (85.4%) cases. Conclusions: We have documented opportunistic health promotion in our setting. Research and interventional strategies are recommended to further promote it and also to look at its advantages and disadvantages in our settings.

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