SIG Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine Annual Report

Prof Rich Withnall (UK), Convener of the WONCA Special Interest Group on Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine provides the group's annual report fro 2016-2017.

The Special Interest Group on Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine (SIG C&CM) provides a coordinated forum through which WONCA lends its support to improving the quality of care of peoples of the world when they face some of life’s greatest challenges.

Following successful workshops at WONCA Europe (Istanbul 2015, Copenhagen 2016 and Prague 2017) and WONCA World (Rio 2016) conferences, the SIG C&CM membership has now grown to over 300. An Executive Committee is now established with representatives from all WONCA regions. Prof Ranit Mansori (Professor of Family Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, USA) became Vice Convenor in November 2016.

The SIG C&CM’s activity plan for the 2016-2018 biennium was accepted by the WONCA Executive in January 2017. The SIG has:

1. Generated networks
by exploring opportunities for further internal symbiosis with other WONCA working parties and special interest groups regarding ‘golden threads’ (eg. rural medicine; women’s health; migrant care) and established new external linkages (eg. Institute of Remote Healthcare).

2. Enhanced appreciation of Operational environments by authoring prolonged field care clinical guidelines, and providing subject matter expertise upon request by members organisations and individuals to support family doctors working in C&CM environments.

3. Improved knowledge and information exchange through the delivery of well-attended workshops at WONCA Conferences, on-line postings, exploitation of social media and the production of reports for the WONCA Executive.

4. Undertaken primary care research, with programmes including: clinical prolonged field care; heat illness triage tools; and physiological biosensors and health informatics innovation to support clinical reach forward, reach back and decision-making. Training materials are being developed to support and promulgate the lessons identified.

During the next year, the SIG C&CM will continue to generate networks that help to develop the specialist medical, public health, leadership and managerial competencies required at the scenes of major man-made and natural disasters. It will continue to provide a forum for an exchange of knowledge and information between member organisations’ family doctors, and encourage international conflict and catastrophe primary care research, promote the role of the family doctor, facilitate education and help to develop effective international collaborative relationships at all levels.

Photo below - the group meet in Rio 2016