EMR Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases in Primary Health Care

WONCA EMR president, Dr Mohammed Tarawneh, and Dr Oraib Alsmadi, WONCA EMR honorary treasurer, were invited as temporary advisors to attend the WHO EMR meeting on strengthening the integration and management of noncommunicable diseases in primary health care, held in Cairo, 8-10 September 2014.

The meeting considered diabetes, CVD, chronic lung diseases, and cancers and the main four interventions of their common risk factors ie tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.

Representative from Ministries of Health / PHC directorates / NCDs departments from all member states of the region, WHO advisors and experts, other experts from other WHO regions, and some NGOs like UNRWA, IDF and WONCA were present at this event.

WHO EMRO classified member states in three groups according their income: the first group is composed of GCC countries (KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Oman); the second group is composed of Egypt , Lebanon, Jordan , Iran and Iraq; and the third group is composed of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen, Tunis, Morocco and Palestine.

All agreed to adopt the family practice approach, as the best model to be applied in PHC settings where NCDs should be integrated.

Many challenges are facing this approach such as political commitment (mainly in the second and third category of governments in the region), lack of resources, shortages of family physicians, shortages of workforce training programs, task shifting, lack of research, referral systems through the levels of health systems, lack of monitoring system, lack of accreditation and other obstacles such as the community itself not wanting to accept some procedures due to local culture and beliefs.

We emphasised that WONCA can strongly assist and provide technical support through regional or other regions’ experts.

Mohammed Tarawneh
WONCA EMR president