Anna Stavdal's vision for WONCA Europe

January, 2017

Anna Stavdal of Norway is the new president of WONCA Europe. IN WONCA Europe's most recent newsletter, she outlines her plans for the region for the coming three years and importantly states "we need to be recognized by colleagues and politicians as key players of the primary care team".

Family doctors of the world recently gathered at the WONCA World conference in Brazil. Despite the considerable cultural and socio-economical differences, once again, it was evident that as family doctors we share the same goals, and face the same core challenges all over the world.

To provide our populations with primary medical care of high quality, we need to be recognized by colleagues and politicians as key players of the primary care team.

In Rio de Janeiro, the new executive board of WONCA Europe was elected, and I commenced working as your president for the next term. I feel honoured to be the chair of our new executive board, consisting of such competent colleagues, most whom have clinical work as the main part of their professional life: a regular contact with patients is a constant reminder of the reason why we spend time and energy on working together in WONCA.

The new executive will present the working plan for the next triennium to the member organisations in the council meeting in Prague in June of next year. However, I can already mention some tasks that, for sure, will be on our agenda:

• Let’s develop WONCA Europe and create synergies!
We need to develop our organisation further. WONCA Europe carries out a broad range of activities in networks and special interest groups. Some of them are overlapping, and some others are not effectively communicated or shared. We will explore ways to improve internal communication to encourage cooperation and mitigate unconducive firewalls between the different parts of our organisation.

• We want the ordinary European family doctor to know WONCA Europe!
And to do so, we need you, the member organisations, to promote and explain what we are doing, and recruit colleagues to activities and meeting places.
A communication strategy is on the top of the to do-list of the new executive.

• We will develop the WONCA Europe conferences!
Our annual conferences represent the main arena where WONCA Europe representatives meet with the family doctors of Europe. We would like to provide conferences of high quality, for clinicians, as well as academics.
For that, the WONCA Europe council has decided to establish a longitudinal conference committee to ensure continuity and transition of experience among the conferences. The new executive will make a commitment to support the committee, focus on content, and make the conferences accessible, as much as possible, for all.

• Exert political influence where it counts!
To achieve recognition of the importance of family medicine for the health of the European population, WONCA Europe needs to exert political influence. Over the last years we have strengthened our link to WHO Europe. For instance, at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe meeting in Copenhagen in September this year, WONCA Europe, with the support from other NGOs, submitted two statements on the topics of refugee and migrant health and strengthening people-centred health systems.

Moreover, in 2017, the anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration on primary care takes place, and WHO Europe is establishing a Centre for Primary Health Care in the city of Kazakhstan. The aim of the centre is to provide evidence-based policy advice to member states for the continuous development of primary health care in line with the Alma Ata Declaration. WONCA Europe, by the president, has accepted the invitation to be represented at the Advisory Board of the new centre.

View WONCA Europe's latest newsletter