From the CEO's desk there is no UHC without PHC

Photo:WONCA Executive in Krakow

What a busy few weeks!! Since last I wrote I’ve been in Geneva, for World Health Assembly, then on to Krakow for the WONCA Europe conference and then to Warsaw for a meeting of the WONCA Executive. After that it was off to Toronto, to undertake a Program Accreditation visit at University of Toronto, before heading away for some much-needed leave time. My thanks to Karen Flegg for filling in for me last month in WONCA News.

World Health Assembly

Given the clash of dates of the World Health Assembly (WHA71)with WONCA Europe, in Krakow, this year, we divided representation so that Amanda Howe and I started the week before being relieved by Donald Li and Vivi Martinez-Bianchi. Amanda and I then flew to Krakow, to be joined later in the week by Donald Li.

Much of the WHA71 formal agenda was related to WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ emphasis on Universal Health Care and the importance of Primary Health Care, and the signing of the new 13th General Programme of Work (GPW) designed to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – with a particular focus on SDG3: “Ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages by 2030”.

This is of particular importance to family medicine, as it sets three targets by 2030:
- 1 billion more people covered through universal health coverage;
- 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies; and
- 1 billion more people enjoy better health and wellbeing.

Significant emphasis was placed on the upcoming declaration on the 40th anniversary of Alma Ata. Health Equity was spoken about constantly and the discussions included how to go from visionary goals to real action, commitment and funding to see change. “There is no UHC without PHC” was another important statement heard at many of the meetings, and “now that we all agree of the importance of primary health care, then how do we go about it?”.

As usual, WONCA had a whole series of meetings with WHO colleagues in a number of departments, including: Service Delivery and Safety (SDS) Department; Ageing and Life Course; Mental Health and Substance Abuse; Health Workforce; Occupational Health; and NCDs. We also attended a number of side events, dinners with key stake holders and met with other NGOs to discuss current and future joint activities. Those we met with included the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA); World Medical Association (WMA); International Council of Nurses (ICN); Global Coalition for Circulatory Health; and World Federation of Public Health Associations. This last organization was formally admitted to WONCA this year as an Organization in Collaborative Relationship and has recently granted reciprocal partner membership to WONCA in turn.

Year on year, WONCA has developed a higher and higher profile with WHO, and it was especially encouraging this year to see how often WHO colleagues were actively seeking us out, to request assistance with, and inputs to, various WHO documents.

Of course the major emphasis during this past year has been planning and preparing for the 40th anniversary celebrations of Alma Ata, to be held in Astana (capital of Kazakhstan), in October 2018. Dr Anna Stavdal, WONCA Europe President, has been an integral part of the WHO Euro Advisory Group, whilst WONCA President Professor Amanda Howe co-chaired the International Advisory Group at WHO HQ. WONCA has been invited to review and comment on a number of technical papers which will be prepared in advance of the meeting, and we were also given an opportunity to comment on the draft Astana Declaration, which was circulated recently to all Member Organizations and Working Parties and SIGs.

The meeting is scheduled for 25th and 26th October, just after our own world conference in Seoul, and whilst the detailed programme for the meeting has still to be firmed up, WONCA will be sending a small but very able delegation which hopes to have significant opportunities to highlight family medicine and its potential for the delivery of quality primary health care.

WONCA Executive meeting

To tie in with the WONCA Europe conference in Krakow, WONCA Executive’s latest face-to-face meeting was held in Warsaw on 28th and 29th May. As ever there was a very busy agenda, with a whole host of topics for discussion. Some considerable time was spent on Bylaws amendments, before they are presented to Council in October for endorsement, and more routine issues such as regional and Executive reports were included. Finances were, as ever, a key item, but Hon Treasurer was able to report that 2018 to date was well on target to meet, and quite possibly exceed, predictions for income.

Nominations for WONCA Honours and Awards were presented to Executive for endorsement, and they were pleased to endorse one nomination for Honorary Life Direct Membership, 12 for WONCA Fellowship and to confirm Nominating and Awards Committee’s recommendation regarding the 2018 WONCA Global Five Star Doctor Award.

Membership Committee recommendations were also considered, and Executive was pleased to endorse a number of recommendations regarding WONCA Membership:

Full membership of WONCA:
- Public Organization National Association of Family Medicine Workers of Tajikistan

Academic Membership of WONCA:
- Department of Family Medicine at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, CANADA
- Department of Family Medicine (DFM) of Faculty of Medicine and Community Health (FMCH), Queensland University, Haïti.
- Aswan Family Medicine Residency Programme, Egypt

Ongoing Activities

Work in the Secretariat is as busy as ever. Staff have been completing actions resulting from the recent Executive meeting but are also very engaged in preparing the Annual Report (covering the period from July 2017to June 2018) and also preparing for WONCA Executive, Council and conference in Korea in October. I’ve previously reported on arrangement for Korea, but you can always access further details at http://www.globalfamilydoctor.com/News/ArrangementsforSeoul.aspx

Until next month.
Garth Manning