Region: East Mediterranean

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East Mediterranean

WONCA East Mediterranean region formation

The announcement of the WONCA Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) as full WONCA Region during the Cancun Conference was happily awaited. It was the culmination of several years of preparation on the part of its interim executive. The idea to establish a WONCA group solely for the Middle East was introduced by Michael Boland, Bruce Sparks and many others. WONCA EMR came into existence in July 2007, during the WONCA Executive Meeting in Singapore and Professor Nabil Al Kurashi was selected to head the committee to develop the region.

Current WONCA EMR members and the year of joining WONCA are: Saudi Arabia, 1994; Lebanon, 2003; Bahrain, 2004; Jordan, 2004; Iraq, 2005; UAE, 2006; Oman, 2007; Egypt, 2007; Syria, 2010; Qatar, 2014; Morocco 2015; Algeria, 2015; Afghanistan, 2015; Kuwait, 2015; and Islamic Republic of Iran, 2016. These 15 members represent more than 19,600 doctors in the East Mediterranean region.

Mission of WONCA East Mediterranean region

Improve the quality of life of the peoples of the East Mediterranean through fostering and maintaining high standards of care in general practice/family medicine by providing a forum for exchange of knowledge and information; encouraging and supporting the development of academic organizations of general practitioners/family physicians; and representing the educational, research and service provision activities of general practitioners/family physicians before other world organizations and forums concerned with health and medical care.

Upcoming Conferences

Regional President

Dr Abdulaziz Mahmood Nasser Al-Mahrezi (Oman)

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Other office bearers

    WONCA EMR executives and Member Organizations' presidents:

    1- Afghan Family Medicine Association (AFMA) president Dr Rahimullah Rahimi
    2- Bahrain Family Physicians Association president Prof Faisal Alnaser President
    3- Egyptian Family Medicine Association president Prof Taghreed Farhat
    4- Emirates Medical Association, The Family Medicine Section president Dr Wadea Abdul Rahman
    5- Iran Society of General Practitioner president Dr Abbas Kamyabi
    6- Iraqi Family Physicians Society president Dr Muntadhar Saad
    7- Jordan Society of Family Medicine (JSFM) president Dr Oraib Alsmadi
    8- Kuwaiti Association of Family Physicians and General Practitioners president Dr. Mohamed Alazami
    9- Lebanese Society of Family Medicine president Dr Mona Osman
    10- National Collective of General Practitioners of Marocco (MG Maroc) president Dr Fatima-Zohra MCHICH ALAMI
    11- Oman Family and Community Medicine Society President Prof Abdelaziz Al Mehrazi
    12-Palestine Association of Family Medicine president Dr Suha Hamshari
    13- Qatar Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) manager Dr Mariam Abdul Malak
    14- Saudi Society of Family and Community Medicine president Dr Abdel Aziz El Fareh
    15- Societe Algerienne De Medecine Generale (SAMG) president Dr Abdulkarim TFAT
    16- Syrian Family Medicine Association president Dr Samar Al-Mouazan  

Executive Members

Abdel Aziz Al Mahrezi (Oman)

Past President
Taghreed Farahat (Egypt)

Faisal Elnaser (Bahrain)

Honorary Secretary
Nagwa Nashat (Egypt)

Mona Osman (Lebanon)

Member at Large
Suha Hamshari (Palestine)

Member at Large
Ashraf Amir (Saudi Arabia)

Member at Large
Muntadr Sad (Iraq)

Al Razi YD Representative
Adel Yasky

Groups and Organizations

Latest News

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WONCA EMR region meetings so far

The first WONCA EMR meeting for regional board executives was held on November 13–14, 2007 in the Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The second region meeting was held in Oman on January 20, 2009 along with the First International Conference of Family Medicine which was held at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The conference was organized by the SQU College of Medicine & Health Sciences in collaboration with WHO, WONCA, WONCA EMR, Oman Ministry of Health, the Oman Family Medicine Society (FAMCO), and the GCC Health Ministers Council. Prominent WONCA leaders, Professors Chris Van Weel, Richard Roberts, Michael Kidd, and Igor Svab; and Doctors Alain Montegut and Gabriel Ivbijaro; also participated in the conference.

WONCA EMR’s third regional meeting was held in Amman, Jordan on 7th October, 2009. This was in conjunction with the First Conference of the Pan-Arab Association of Family Medicine and the Eighth International Conference of Jordan Society of Family Medicine (JSFM), under the leadership of Dr Mohammed Tarawneh and Dr Oraib Smadi, board members of JSFM and WONCA EMR members.

The fourth WONCA EMR Meeting Bahrain on March 30 to 31, 2010. Important issues were discussed including: an update on the aspects of family medicine and primary care in each country, regional by-laws, WONCA EMR Conference in November 2010, the creation of a scientific library for WONCA EMR, and establishment of a WONCA EMR office. A common agreement was reached for all members to find ways to support the organization in a variety of ways.

The fifth WONCA EMR meeting was held Dubai in November 2010.

Progress so far

WONCA EMR has achieved some gains in three years since its establishment which include: formation of the society with increased involvement of WONCA EMR in country health policies in the region and increased awareness of WONCA in the region; increased participation in the regional scientific activities from WONCA; acceptance and of WONCA resources such as ICPC-2. There have also been more opportunities in the region to meet and share; strengthening of the societies in the region by using WONCA as a global scientific support and by utilizing the expertise of WONCA executives as consultants as needed; and better cultural networking with other regions in primary care. WONCA EMR has been invited as an observer for every WHO inter-country activity in the region.

Although there have been quite substantial gains, there are some challenges and among them are: inadequate financial resources, marketing of ICPC-2, lukewarm acceptance of WONCA in some countries. More efforts towards proving WONCA EMR are needed in order to increase WONCA country and individual membership.

The future for WONCA EMR

Immediate plans for WONCA EMR include: establishing a permanent center that will house the executive office, training center, research center, and consultant offices; strengthening marketing and media relation activities; increase scientific involvement in family medicine in the region; and increase WONCA EMR membership by signing up countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, and Morocco. WONCA EMR has developped a list of goals, roles and responsibilities of members for 2010 and ahead.

Develop and maintain relations with other regional organizations.
Liaison with government entities and health authorities.
Conduct stake-holder presentations and meetings.
Capture and update WONCA EMR data base with information on regional activities related to general practice/ family medicine.
Manage Media relations opportunities on behalf of WONCA EMR.
Manage awareness campaigns and fund raising initiatives.
Organize EMR meetings, produce agenda’s and track action points.

Manage WONCA EMR Branch website.
Develop and maintain potential member data base.
Conduct member recruitment drives.
Manage communication with member organizations.
Liaison with WONCA membership Committee.
Produce and manage WONCA EMR Journal.

Provide structured support to organizations and individuals at all levels of learning: undergraduate specific training, CME and higher professional education in general practice.
Conduct training needs analysis on behalf of members.
Organize periodical training programs for GPs across various levels.
Organize and manage member networking events.
Liaison with academics, encourage participation from universities.
Manage WONCA EMR participation in related meetings and events.
Plan for and organize WONCA EMR regional conference.

Promoting research in general practice/family practice within EMR.
Set research targets, support and foster research capacity of the discipline.
Promote international co-operation through participation of academic departments of general practice/ family medicine in other regions.
Plan and manage scientific content for EMR regional conference.
Promote collaborative research in general practice in EMR region
Facilitate and organize research methods training courses.
Identify methods already used to improve quality of care in general practice
Stimulate education and debate relevant for the development of general practice/ family medicine in by the publication a variety of background papers, covering clinical matters, educational topics, or policy issues.


WHO. Family practice in countries of the East Mediterranean region: a preliminary assessment. 2014

WHO. Current status of family medicine education and training in the East Mediterranean region: working paper. 2014