From the CEO’s Desk: CEO travels, Family Doctor Day, Nepal

May, 2015

As I write this I’m sitting in Accra, Ghana, attending the 4th WONCA Africa conference, having flown here directly from Dubai, from the 2nd WONCA EMR conference. It’s that time of year again – the time when so many conferences take place. The travel is tiring, but you become completely re-energized at the people and the activities and the presentations and the networking that takes place at all these events, and return to normal everyday work with so many memories and happy experiences.

Both Michael Kidd and I will report much more fully on WONCA Africa in next month’s News, but for now I’ll write briefly on both WONCA EMR and also the WONCA Rural Health conference which I was also privileged to attend earlier in April, in the beautiful Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice

WONCA’s Working Party on Rural Practice (WWPRP), under the very active supervision of John Wynn-Jones (pictured speaking in Dubrovnik), is one of WONCA’s most active Working Parties. They run a rural health conference in two years out of three (ie with no conference in the year of a world event) and last year’s meeting in Gramado, Brazil was hailed as an enormous success, with several reports appearing in past editions of WONCA News. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be in Gramado, but was delighted to be able to attend Dubrovnik, and I thank the organisers, and especially Tanja Pekez-Pavlisko, for their incredible hospitality and friendship.

The conference itself was fantastic, with excellent plenaries and parallel sessions and, as at all good conferences, there were just too many superb events all competing with each other. The venue was also stunning, overlooking the Adriatic, and with the old city of Dubrovnik close at hand. I was also pleased to be able to attend one day of the WWPRP Executive meeting, which reinforced just how much fantastic work this working party achieves.

Photo: CEO, Garth Manning (right) with Anna Stavdal, WONCA Europe region Vice President (left)

WONCA East Mediterranean Region conference

It was also a delight to attend the 2nd WONCA East Mediterranean Region conference in Dubai, from 30th April to 2nd May. Again the friendship and hospitality were wonderful, and we (Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe and I) were looked after extraordinarily well, so our thanks to the organizers. The conference itself was also great, with really excellent sessions from doctors from all around the region and beyond.

We were especially pleased to meet with colleagues from both Algeria and Morocco, to discuss their joining the WONCA family, and we hope very much that their applications can be processed and accepted in the near future.

Photo: WONCA secretariat attend Dubai, (l to r) manager, Nongluck Suwisith and admin officer, Arisa Puissarakij.

World Health Assembly (WHA)

As well as the current WONCA Africa conference May also sees the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, and WONCA will be represented by Michael Kidd, Professor Ruth Wilson (our North America Region President) and myself. There is a lot of discussion ongoing about the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2015 up to 2030.

In the SDGs health is only one of 19 goals (comprised of 169 targets) and WONCA has real concern that Universal Health Coverage is not being sufficiently emphasised, whilst primary care barely gets mentioned and family medicine is ignored completely. We have expressed our reservations to WHO, who share many of them, and it will be interesting to take part in a number of sessions, throughout WHA, when these issues will be further discussed and debated. We will, of course, report back in due course.

World Family Doctor Day 2015

A brief further reminder about World Family Doctor Day – 19th May. I know that Michael Kidd is also covering this in his column, but don’t forget that we want to hear from you about your activities to celebrate this special day for family medicine. Please send all news, reports and pictures to Karen Flegg, WONCA Editor by completing the template here.


And finally a brief word about Nepal, which I know that Michael Kidd has also covered, as has our Special Interest Group on Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine. I have been in contact with Professor Pratap Prasad, who as well as being our South Asia Region President is also President of the GP Association of Nepal (GPAN), WONCA’s Member Organization in the country. I also managed to speak directly with him last week. Pratap has advised that the best way currently to help Nepal is to make any donations through reliable agencies. He himself has suggested one such agency, donation details of which are:

Name of account : TUTH Disaster Relief fund.
Himalayan Bank Limited.
Account number: 00205631170014
Swift number: HIMANPKA

Until next month.

Dr Garth Manning