From the CEO’s Desk: May 2014

Photo taken in Quito of  (l to r) WONCA CEo, Garth Manning; WONCA Iberoamericana President, Inez Padula; Carina Vance, the public health Minister of Ecuador; WONCA President elect, Amanda Howe; WONCA President, Michael Kidd.

Greetings again from Bangkok. As predicted, April was a very busy – but very productive – month for WONCA, and May is likely to be even more active.

Rural Issues

By all accounts the Rural Health conference in Gramado was a tremendous event, with all sorts of vibrant and exciting presentations and activities. A fuller report appears elsewhere in this newsletter, but two key highlights of the conference were the inaugural presentation of the WONCA Rural Practice Award to Professor Bruce Chater and the launch of the Rural Medical Education Guidebook, also reported on more fully elsewhere.

Next year’s rural health conference will take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 15th to 18th April, so please note those dates in your diary.

CIMF (Iberoamericana) V Cumbre

Our colleagues in Latin America also held their fifth Cumbre (summit) on family medicine in Quito on 11th and 12th April, and Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe and I were honoured to be there. Twenty countries were represented, several at very high level, and there were many excellent presentations and discussions. At the end of the summit a “Quito Declaration” was drafted, agreed and signed by key participants, including WONCA, with Professor Michael Kidd signing on our behalf. The Declaration, a copy of which is available on the WONCA website, in English, Spanish, and Portuguese covers five key areas:

1. Universal coverage and family medicine
2. Participation and social communication for family and community medicine and primary health care
3. The training of family medicine physicians in Iberoamericana
4. Certification and professional accreditation
5. Production and dissemination of knowledge in family and community medicine in Iberoamericana

It was fantastic to meet with so many colleagues and friends from the region and to learn at first hand about the many great things happening in family development in Latin America.

World Health Assembly and Family Doctor Day

I put these two topics together because WONCA World Family Doctor Day was declared by WONCA in 2010, and was timed deliberately to coincide with the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva. I featured it in last month’s column, but it’s still not too late to let us know your plans for the day and to write to us afterwards with an account, in words and pictures, of your activities. Previous reports can be found on the WONCA website.

To help to celebrate Family Doctor Day, and for a limited period, WONCA is also offering a reduction in Direct Member fees for anyone applying for the first time. Applications received before 19th May will qualify for a reduced three-year fee of $120 (normally $140) whilst applicants from developing countries will pay only $60 (reduced from ($75). Further details, and application process, can be found here.

The World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva from 19th May, and Professors Michael Kidd and Amanda Howe, together with Dr Luisa Pettigrew and I, will attend. It’s a great opportunity for us not just to network with other colleagues and agencies and organizations (including the World Medical Association and the International Federation of Medical Students Association) but also to meet with the many colleagues within WHO with whom we are forging ever closer collaboration. Luisa, as our WHO Liaison, has been hard at work arranging a very busy schedule of meetings to make best use of the few days that we are there. A fuller report will appear in a future WONCA News.

WONCA Asia Pacific Region Conference

Finally for May, the WONCA Asia Pacific conference will take place in Kuching, Malaysia, from 21st to 24th May and Michael Kidd and I are very much looking forward to meeting friends and colleagues from this WONCA region. I’ll mention more about Kuching in next month’s column.

Until next month.

Dr Garth Manning
CEO