From the CEO’s Desk : November 2019

November, 2019

Photo: Bohumil Seifert and Garth Manning, with some of the team working on WONCA 2020.

October saw a welcome return for me to the Eastern Mediterranean – always a great pleasure to meet with old friends and acquaintances.


From 17th to 19th October I was in Muscat, Oman, to attend their first ever national family medicine conference. The conference was organised by the Oman Family Medicine Society, led by its President, Professor Abdulaziz Al-Mahrezi. A busy two days of plenaries, workshops and presentations followed, extremely well supported by almost 400 delegates who were there from first thing in the morning to last thing each afternoon.

Photo: Garth Manning with Professor Abdulaziz Al-Mahrezi, President of Oman Family Medicine Society

One feature of EMR events has been that the first session of each day – usually of one hour – is made up of 8 short presentations, each of 7 minutes, on a variety of topics. Time is strictly controlled, but it gives a number of participants – and often younger participants – the chance to present their work at a major meeting.

This was a great event, and a wonderful precursor to Oman hosting the 2021 WONCA EMR conference in their lovey city in a stunningly beautiful country.

Abu Dhabi 2020

I flew on from Muscat to Dubai, for meetings with the teams organizing the WONCA World event in 2020. I was joined by Professor Bohumil Seifert, who has assisted me with conference planning meetings for several years, and also on the Monday morning by Professor Chris van Weel by video link, in his role as co-chair of the International Scientific Committee.

Plans for WONCA 2020 are making good progress, and we had a very full but very productive meeting on Monday 21st at ADNEC – the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre – which will host both World Council and World Conference. The programme is coming together nicely, and we were able to finalise the keynote speeches at the opening ceremony (our President, Dr Donald Li, and a senior WHO colleague) and the six plenaries which will take place throughout the event.

The plenaries will cover a number of very current topics including:
- Planetary health
- AI and digital health
- Genomics
- Family doctors in conflicts and disasters
- Selection and training of the future family doctor

Each plenary will last for 30 minutes. There will be no discussion or questions and answers, but after each plenary there will be an opportunity to “Meet the Expert” - the presenter(s) of the plenary - and to continue any dialogue. We also hope that following on from each plenary there will be a related workshop where the topic can be expanded much more, over 90 minutes.

Plenary speakers are still to be confirmed, but leading global experts have been approached and invited, to offer delegates a great opportunity to hear the latest news from the very best experts. Do keep an eye on the conference website – – for all the latest on the programme and the plenary speakers.

Readers are also reminded that workshop and seminar abstract submission is now open, with a closing date of 15th December 2019, whilst Early Bird registration is also now open.
Workshop and Symposia abstract submission (closes 15 December)

Finally, a reminder of some dates for November 2020:
Thursday 19 and Friday 20 November – WONCA Executive meets
Saturday 21st November – Regional meetings; evening reception for Council members
Sunday 22nd to lunchtime Tuesday 24th November – World Council
Tuesday 24th November (afternoon) – first meeting of new Executive
Wednesday 25th November – WP and SIG meetings; YDM pre-conference
Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th November – WONCA World Conference 2020

Until next month.
Dr Garth Manning