From the CEO’s Desk: November 2020

October, 2020

Photo: Virtual WONCA executive meeting

Greetings again from the Secretariat. A mixed bunch from me this month, with a number of issues and topics to highlight.

Annual report July 2019 – June 2020

WONCA’s Annual Report has been a feature of the organization since we first initiated it in 2014, so this will be our seventh report - and of course my last as CEO. Work has been going on for many weeks now, with collation, editing, formatting and checking and rechecking. However, I’m pleased to relate that the report has now been finalised and printed, and a soft copy is available on the WONCA website for all to read. We hope that as many as possible will read through the many and varied activities of a busy and vibrant organization over the 12-month period covered by the report, including reports from WONCA’s very active Working Parties (WP), Special Interest Groups (SIG) and Young Doctor Movements (YDM). To access the report, go to

2019-2020 Annual report

WONCA Webinars

Also related to our WPs and SIGs, I have commented many times before about the rich expertise we are fortunate to have in these expert groups, and this has been even more apparent during the second series of WONCA webinars.

Sadly, only two webinars remain in the current series:
  > 08 November - SIG on Adolescent and Young Adult Care
  > 15 November - WP on the Environment
but all webinars from both Series One and Two can be viewed on YouTube here

Virtual Rural Health Conference

The webinars were, of course, introduced as a way of WONCA keeping in contact with our global members, in the absence of any WONCA conferences and events. With so many events being cancelled it’s a rare pleasure to highlight our WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice (WWPRP), who initiated a virtual World Rural Health Conference.

You may recall that the original event was scheduled to take place in Bangladesh in April, and we offer huge congratulations to Professor Zakiur Rahman and his HOC team in Bangladesh, together with Professor Bruce Chater (Chair of WWPRP) and his executive for their great efforts to ensure a virtual event, which took place over the weekend of 16-18 October. Further details can still be found on the WONCA website here or on the conference site.

Virtual WONCA Europe conference

And plaudits also to our colleagues in DEGAM (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeinmedizin und Familienmedizin - German College of General Practitioners and Family Physicians). Despite rescheduling the 2020 WONCA Europe conference to mid-December (rather than June as originally planned) they then had to cancel the December event due to a rise in COVID cases in Germany. However, not to be deterred, they now plan to convert this event into a virtual one. Sessions will take place from 16th to 19th December, and more details can be found here.

Allies Improving PHC

Believe it or not, it is two years since the Astana Declaration was signed (26th October 2018). Since then, a number of organizations – including WONCA – have continued to push for health system reform so that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can be better provided to communities through quality PHC. Allies Improving PHC is an exciting alliance of global and local organizations committed to unlocking the full promise of primary health care (PHC) on the road to health for all and WONCA is delighted to be a founding member of this alliance. You can find out more about Allies Improving PHC here.

WONCA Executive meeting – November 2020

Finally for this month, advance notice that the WONCA Executive will hold its next full meeting from 26th to 28th November. Inevitably the meeting will be virtual, but will continue with a full agenda of items for discussion and decision, including setting a budget for 2021.

WONCA Executive meets by teleconference every four to six weeks throughout the year, but in normal times would meet face to face every six months. Sadly, that is not currently feasible, but we proved in May this year that a virtual meeting was possible and so will repeat the process in late November. Inevitably we miss a great deal by not meeting in person. The personal contacts and connections are missing, and the opportunity for discussion and debate outside the main forum of the meeting are lost, all of which inevitably impacts upon the group dynamic. Nevertheless, your Executive continues to work hard on behalf of the organization, to ensure that all routine business is maintained, to ensure the continuing health and advancement of WONCA.

And that is it from me for this month – and in fact it’s almost (but not quite) my signoff as CEO. Next month my report will focus on my eight years as WONCA’s CEO, looking back at some of the highlights and achievements of the past eight years.

Dr Garth Manning