From the CEO ’s Desk: The 19th WONCA Asia Pacific Regional conference

The 19th WONCA Asia-Pacific Regional Conference was held from 24–27 May, 2012, at the International Conference Center in the scenic island of Jeju, South Korea.

The conference theme was Clinical excellence in Family Medicine – evidence-based approach in Primary Care. The conference was attended by over 1,700 delegates consisting of just over 1,000 local participants and about 700-odd foreign delegates from over 40 countries. The presence of over 70 delegates from China and 100 from Mongolia was of special significance and reflected the growing importance placed on Family Medicine by these countries.

The scientific aspect of the four-day conference consisted of five plenary sessions with 10 speakers, 16 symposia, 25 oral presentation sessions and over 320 poster presentations. The standards of the scientific sessions were high and participation by delegates was encouraging especially by those from developing countries.

The Opening Ceremony on the morning of 24 May 2012 was a dignified event with welcome speeches from the host and the WONCA World President followed by a showcase of traditional Korean dances and costumes. This was followed by the welcome reception that same evening with plenty of refreshments and opportunities for delegates to meet and renew ties. The conference banquet was a sellout with over 300 guests attending. The highlight of the evening event was the traditional exchange of gifts between the host and representatives of member organizations present.

A day before the start of the conference, the WONCA Asia Pacific Regional Council met to discuss regional issues, projects and finances. Almost all member organizations in the region were present including a representative from the Rajakumar Movement to give voice to the young family doctors of the region. One key outcome of this Regional Council was the issuance of a consensus statement and call for action entitled ‘The Jeju Declaration’ which was adopted unanimously by all council members present. More information on the declaration will be published in the next issue of WONCA News.

It has been a feature in past WONCA Asia-Pacific Regional conferences that special assistance be extended to some delegates from developing countries within the region to help them attend the Conference. This was also the case for the Jeju conference. The Host Organizing Committee had generously agreed to waive the full registration fee for the conference for twelve such delegates from eight countries in the region. In addition, the Regional Council had also agreed to provide a grant of US$500 to each such delegate to help with travel expenses. A list of recipients is given elsewhere in this newsletter.

The Jeju Regional conference has shown the capacity of the Korean Academy of Family Medicine (KAFP) to host an international WONCA conference of sufficiently high standard. Perhaps, it may be time for the Korean Academy to now consider hosting a WONCA World Conference in the near future.

Dr Alfred Loh
Chief Executive Officer
World Organization of Family Doctors
Email: ceo@wonca.com.sg