World Rural Health conference

30 Jun - 01 Jan , 2020

The World Rural Health conference is going virtual. More information below.

(March 7 news )

Dates: April 15-18, 2020

Venue: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Contact: Zakiur Rahman


Dear 17th WONCA World Rural Health Conference registrants,

When we agreed that the 17th World Rural Health Conference would be in Bangladesh, we knew that we faced many challenges. We had faith that our young and enthusiastic group from Primary and Rural Health Bangladesh would put their heart and soul into it. They did so in abundance. They have had, and we have had, amazing support from all of you worldwide.

We have had many abstracts, registrations and donations to support our rural doctors who are in less favourable circumstances to attend the conference. Our Bangladesh organisers gave tirelessly of their time probono. Speakers and officials donated their time to support Bangladesh rural doctors and their communities. Just when we had momentum and a firm program around the abstracts, a tiny virus has now been a major disrupter.

Rural WONCA executive has met and decided that the conference must go on – but virtually.

After much consideration, the Executive have decided that with COVID-19 spreading rapidly, it is not sensible or prudent to have a physical gathering of rural doctors in Dhaka. Doctors are needed by their rural communities now more than ever. Bringing them together, and returning home, risks them being isolated from clinical duties for weeks or even worse, accelerating the spread of the virus to vulnerable rural areas.

We recognise that a virtual conference is not easy – especially catering for time zones – but we hope that, like at a face to face conference, we can adequately cater for you. For those of you who have presentations we hope you can present them. For those with posters – we still want you to be able to “stand by them”. Our workshops will be a bit more difficult, but we hope to provide some interaction. Our keynotes can still go ahead. Rural café will be on again. We want your ideas as to how we can make this still a wonderful celebration for our Bangladesh colleagues and a lasting influence for good in rural Bangladesh.

For those of you who have booked flights or accommodation, we sincerely apologise – we do hope we have given you reasonable notice to cancel or defer your bookings.

For all those who have registered, we will put your registration to good use – if you can allow our organisers to retain this, we would ask that you do this. We will acknowledge you on the website as a supporter/donor. Similarly, for those who donated to support our deserving rural doctors, we will ensure we use your money wisely if you are still happy for this to be done. If your circumstances require a refund, please contact us to organise this. We hope to have some money left to establish a fund to assist rural family doctors and rural communities in Bangladesh.

We have an innovative and enthusiastic group of young doctors and we look forward to celebrating the capability of rural doctors to overcome obstacles that are put in front of us, no matter how microscopic or challenging.

We will let you know more in the near future.

Best wishes

Bruce Chater (Chair, WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice) and
Zakiur Rahman (Chair Organising committee, 17th World Rural Health Conference)

The 17th WONCA World Rural Health Conference (WRHC) is organized by Primary Care & Rural Health Bangladesh (PCRHB) and will be held from Apr 15 - 18, 2020 at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Primary Care & Rural Health Bangladesh (PCRHB), in recognition of its leadership and success in championing family medicine and Primary care, is proud to have been invited by the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice to host this conference. This important conference will be held in collaboration with Wonca Rural South Asia (WORSA). WONCA now has 118 Member Organizations in 131 countries and territories with membership of about 500,000 family doctors and more than 90 per cent of the world's population. The WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice consists of up to 20 members with represent-actives from each of the world's regions: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australasia / Pacific with a vision of health for all rural people around the world.

The conference expects 500+ national and international delegates to attend. These will include rural doctors, researchers and academics, teachers, medical students, Nurses, Health Assistant, policy makers and administrators from both the public and private sectors and Community Health Workers. It's a window of opportunity for all to know, the advances made in different rural health determinants and also a forum to discuss family medicine and its role in rural health solutions.