From the CEO’s Desk - Wasn’t Prague fantastic?

July, 2013


Wasn’t Prague fantastic? A great conference in a great centre, really well organised and brilliantly delivered. Thank you, Bohumil Seifert, Vaclav Benes and all of your team, not forgetting Guarant, the PCO behind the organisation who were simply wonderful to work with.

Having Dr Margaret Chan as the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony was the icing on the cake, and if you haven’t read her speech then I strongly urge you to. It sends a really strong message about the importance of primary health care and family medicine, especially if the goal of universal health coverage is going to be achieved. There’s an article on Dr Chan’s speech on the WONCA website, which will also direct you to the full content of her speech - go to article.

Dr Chan also launched the Second Edition of the WONCA Guidebook: “The Contribution of Family Medicine to Improving Health Systems”. Whether as a result of this additional publicity or whatever, the book sold out of the on-site bookstore within 24 hours! However the Secretariat has been in discussion with Radcliffes, the book publishers, and we hope to have copies in stock in the not-too-distant future. Copies can also be ordered, of course, from on line sellers such as Amazon. Read more about the guidebook

Prague gave the Secretariat staff a chance to meet with so many people, and a big thank you to everyone who came to the WONCA stand. I don’t think I have ever seen the WONCA stand so busy! A special thanks to everyone who signed up for WONCA Direct Membership. Arisa is currently working hard processing the applications and preparing the certificates to send out to all our new members. Council also approved a new grade of membership – Life Membership – which provides the opportunity for individuals to make a special gift to WONCA in return for waiver of annual direct membership renewal requirements. Already we have had four members enroll and we look forward to many more. It’s worth remembering that Life Direct Member status (like Direct Member) is open to any health professional who has an interest in supporting the vision, mission and goals of WONCA, and not just to family doctors. I’ll be writing more on this in subsequent months.

Congratulations Dr Shahab

And speaking of the WONCA stand – congratulations to Dr Shahid Shahab of Pakistan whose name was drawn out of the bag by Professor Amanda Howe, WONCA’s new President-elect, to win the iPad offered to all new subscribers to WONCA.

Wonca executive

And so after a very successful Executive meeting at Zbiroh Castle, followed by some really good meetings of the WONCA Regions, Working Parties and SIGs, we have now completed our first Council meeting. We also now have an incredibly new Executive, with only Professor Michael Kidd and Dr Donald Li continuing on. We have a new President-elect (and our first female) – Professor Amanda Howe, of UK. Many congratulations to her. All seven WONCA regions have new Presidents, and all of them will be featured in the WONCA News in the coming months. We also have three new Members at Large, with Dr Donald Li (Hong Kong) taking over as Honorary Treasurer, Dr Luisa Pettigrew (UK) assuming the role of WONCA-WHO Liaison, and Dr Karen Flegg who continues in her role as WONCA Editor (where she has been fantastic) and also taking on Bylaws and Regulations. Many of the Working Parties also have new Chairs and we look forward very much to working with them all during the forthcoming triennium. Read more about the new executive members

Finally we look forward immensely to working with our new WONCA President, Professor Michael Kidd, and helping him to achieve the aims and objectives which he outlined in his keynote speech at the conference.

With best wishes from all of us in the WONCA Secretariat in Bangkok

Dr Garth Manning FRCGP