From the CEO’s Desk: weather, working parties and WONCA world

Bangkok in January – bright blue skies, daytime temperatures in the low to mid 30s (mid 90s), evening temperatures a very pleasant low 20s (low 70s)….. Apologies to all those currently suffering from a very cold northern hemisphere winter, but it’s a great time to be in Thailand and I’m sure it’s mere coincidence, that our President, Rich Roberts, and President-elect, Michael Kidd, will arrive here in early February for the next Core Executive meeting! The agenda is fairly packed, but hopefully they will have time to enjoy the really lovely conditions at this time of year. Rich will be visiting some young Thai doctors in their practice and will also meet with some of the primary health care policymakers and strategists during his visit, in addition to several Thai family practitioners, and I’m sure he will report more fully in next month’s newsletter.

The period leading up to the triennial World Council has traditionally been fairly quiet, as most Working Parties (WP) and Special Interest Groups (SIG) conserve their time and budgets for attendance at the World Council and Conference. For the WONCA meeting schedule for Prague click here.

However it was great to hear of a really successful research workshop held in Colombo in mid-January, organised by the South Asia Primary Care Research Network and supported by the WONCA Research WP and by the WONCA Regional President. A total of 48 doctors took part in what I’m told was a really dynamic and lively workshop, and we look forward to hearing more from Dr Basharat Ali when he reports through WONCA News in a future edition.

WICC at work in Barcelona in 2011

Another WONCA WP which is working hard in relative anonymity is the WONCA International Classification Committee, or WICC. This is WONCA’s oldest and longest-standing committee, and it has continued work over the years to develop and revise and improve classification methods for primary care encounters. It is, inevitably, a field littered with acronyms, but WICC has developed the International Classification for Primary Care (ICPC), now in its second iteration (ICPC-2) and work has already commenced on building the conceptual framework for ICPC-3. WICC’s work ensures that ICPC closely maps other international standards such as SNOMED (Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms) and ICD (International Classification of Disease) and the Working Party is developing ever-closer links with WHO, through WHO-FIC (the WHO Family of International Classifications…I told you it was fraught with acronyms!) to ensure robust family medicine inputs into the development of ICD-11.

In fact the issue of more proactive WONCA engagement in the development of ICD-11 was raised by the WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan, when the key WONCA Executives of Rich Roberts, Michael Kidd, Iona Heath (WHO Liaison) and Alfred Loh met her last August as the culmination of a series of very productive meetings in Geneva over two days with WHO senior staff. It has now been confirmed that Dr Chan will deliver the keynote speech during the opening ceremony of the World Conference in Prague on 25 June which is a huge fillip for them and for us, as it will be the first ever attendance by a WHO Director General at a major WONCA event.

Dr Margaret Chan

Finally, for this month, I return to the 2013 World Council. In the next couple of weeks the Secretariat staff will be contacting all Member Organisations and Chairs of WPs, SIGs and Committees regarding the arrangements for the Prague World Council. We will be asking for submission of any items for the agenda, so please do encourage your own MO or group to raise any issues which you think are important – it’s your once-every-three-years opportunity to get an issue highlighted and debated and discussed. And don’t forget that the extra-early bird conference registration fee for WONCA Direct Members expires on 19 February, so this is your last chance to take advantage of this very good deal.

Until next month.
Garth Manning
Chief Executive Officer