Activities WONCA SIG on migrant care, international health and travel medicine

Dear colleagues,

It is my pleasure to inform you about some events during WONCA Europe in Istanbul, in October, where several initiatives were started regarding the health care for refugees.

First of all, Wonca Europe president Prof Job Metsemakers presented to the press the Istanbul Statement, on behalf of all members of WONCA Europe: a statement on the importance of access to affordable and good quality primary care for all refugees. Our SIG was involved in the presentation of this statement which off course we support wholeheartedly. I urge all of you to take notice of it and look what possibilities you have to inform your government, your local college or colleagues of this, and to see what you can do to improve the access and quality of care for refugees.

In addition to this, during the symposium on war, immigrants and ethnicity, a proposal was made to translate the Istanbul statement to educational goals in vocational training; our SIG will work on this together with colleague Niels Kristian Kjaer from Denmark and John Yaphe from Portugal.

Prof Jan de Maeseneer in his key note lecture also addressed the topic of the responsibility of primary care regarding the refugees and called upon the WONCA SIG's on Health Equity, on MIgrant care and on Conflict and catastrophe, together with the Euopean Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) , to build a platform where good practices of primary care for refugees could be documented.

Prof Christos Lionis, from, Crete and Prof Chris Dowrick, from Liverpool, also issued an initiative to address politicians and inform them about existing scientific knowledge and experiences in good quality care for migrants including refugees.

Our SIG will be involved in all these initiatives and I call upon all of you to inform me if you wish to participate in any of these activities.

As you know, on behalf of our SIG we organised two workshops: one of the health of refugees children and one on migrant children. Both workshops were well attended, especially the workshop on refugee children was crowded!

I would like to thank our speakers Duygu Baser, Aral Surmeli, Rebecca Farrington, Anne Maynard and Guus Busser for there impressive and interesting lectures, and all participants for their active involvement.

You can find some impressions of the workshops at our facebook page:

For next year we plan to organise workshops during WONCA Europe in Copenhagen, in June and during the WONCA world conference, in November, in Rio the Janeiro. Our colleague Johanna Montalvo Vasquez form Equador already offered her participation as well as other colleagues; the deadline for submitting abstracts is postponed to February 1, 2016.

Finally, I would ask those among you who expressed their interest in our SIG during the last workshops, to inform me in what way you would like to be involved, and about your working place, experience or special activities in the field of migrant care, international health and / or travel medicine.

I was impressed and moved by the massive enganegement among our colleagues to include this extremely vulnerable group of refugees in our person centered community based care - care that as Niels told us not only involves our heads but even more our hearts. Thank you all.

Best regards,
Maria van den Muijsenbergh, (pictured in Istanbul)
convener of the WONCA SIG on Migrant care, international health and travel medicine.
[email protected]