From the CEO’s Desk: Prague, Geneva and Family Doctor Day

Well, June 2013 is now upon us, and the WONCA World Conference is fast approaching.

I imagine that stress levels in Prague are rising exponentially, but I know too that this has been a really well planned and organised conference and promises to be possibly the best WONCA conference ever. Already over 3,000 delegates have registered, so with luck we will have over 4,000 attendees at the actual event. Of course, prior to the conference we have the final meeting of the current WONCA Executive, followed by regional council meetings and then the WONCA World Council from 22 to 24 June, at which the new Council Members will be confirmed and/or elected into post.

The Secretariat staff have been working feverishly to try to get agendas and papers sorted for both the Executive and Council meetings, and these will start to go out during the week beginning 3 June. As usual there will be several inches/centimetres worth of papers, so we hope very much that most people will use electronic formats, and there will be plenty of electric sockets at the Council venue to enable Council members to use laptops or tablets.

see schedule of WONCA meetings to be held in Prague here

Away from the council and conference other activities continue. I was delighted this month to be asked to give a keynote speech, here in Bangkok, at the conference of the Society of Family Physicians of Thailand, a group of residency-trained and qualified family physicians here in the Kingdom. They are a really dynamic, energetic and highly motivated bunch and it was a great privilege to be invited. They were keen to show me their plans for World Family Doctor Day, and elsewhere in this month’s newsletter are reports from several of our Member Organisations who arranged some fascinating and really creative ways to celebrate this now-annual occasion, each 19 May. Do please read their stories – it’s most inspiring!

Read the stories on World Family Doctor Day here

The date for World Family Doctor Day was chosen to coincide approximately with the dates of the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), in Geneva: and this year WONCA’s delegation to WHA consisted of our President, Professor Rich Roberts; President-elect, Professor Michael Kidd; WONCA-WHO Liaison Officer, Dr Iona Heath; and myself. Geneva was cold, grey and dull, but there was lots of lively debate and discussion within the Palais des Nations. For us the most important thing was to meet with various WHO colleagues, and to plan for further collaboration between our two organisations. In recent years WONCA has been building ever-closer links with the WHO in areas as diverse as non-communicable disease, health systems and innovation (which includes patient safety), radiation safety and work-related health, to mention just a few. We also discussed multi-morbidity and integrated care, and of how the WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC) is working closely with the WHO to ensure greater primary care input into ICD-11 through the development of ICPC-3. Geneva is also a chance for us to network with other health NGOs such as World Medical Association and World Health Professions Alliance, and very cordial meetings were held – usually over a pleasant business lunch!

So…it’s been a busy month, and June will be even more frantic. I wish you all safe travels and look forward very much to meeting up with many of you in Prague.

Garth Manning