From the CEO's desk: one year on

December, 2013

Hong Kong

As I write this I’m sitting in Hong Kong, where Michael Kidd and I have been taking part in the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the forming of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (HKAM). WONCA’s very own Dr Donald Li, Member at Large and Honorary Treasurer, is the current President of HKAM, which comprises 15 specialist colleges, including the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, and is responsible for standards and accreditation of specialisation exams. It’s terrific to see a family doctor as President of such a prestigious body, and it has been a fantastic and stimulating conference. Michael will be reporting on all of this more fully in his column next month…so I’d better not steal his thunder!

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director General, also attended the conference and Michael and I had the latest of our periodic discussions with her about ever-deeper collaboration between our two organizations. In her remarks at the opening of the congress – to the assembled gathering from many specialties - she loudly proclaimed to the illustrious gathering “I love family medicine” and then went on to specifically mention WONCA by name, and her attendance in Prague. Music to our ears! During our talks she continued to speak warmly of our work and was keen to use our undoubted expertise to help in the battle for Universal Health Coverage and higher standards of primary health care and family medicine globally.

Finally whilst in Hong Kong we were very kindly invited to the annual dinner of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, and hugely enjoyed good food and entertainment in great company. Many thanks to Dr Ruby Lee, President of HKCFP, and her Council for hosting us so generously. We also visited the College offices within HKAM and met with Erica So and her lovely team of administrators, as shown in the photograph.

Photo: In Hong Kong (l to r) Dr Garth Manning, WONCA CEO; Prof Michael Kidd, WONCA President with Dr Donald Li, WONCA member-at-large.

WHO liaison

Our Regional Presidents have all been working hard to establish stronger links in their regions with their WHO Regional offices, and WONCA has been well represented at a number of the WHO Regional Meetings. Michael, together with Amanda Howe and Luisa Pettigrew, will attend the WHO Executive Board meeting in Geneva in January, and Dr Chan has kindly offered to introduce the Regional Directors to our WONCA Executive team, so the bonds grow ever stronger.

Young Doctors and Raman Kumar

Last month I highlighted WONCA’s Junior Doctor movements and the fantastic work that they do. I mentioned then that Executive was still deliberating on the selection of a Junior Doctor representative for Executive, as mandated by June’s Prague Council. As you will see elsewhere on the website, Executive had a really difficult choice to make, with 28 applications from many excellent candidates. However Dr Raman Kumar of India came out as first choice, and we congratulate him on his appointment. Raman, who is Chair of the Spice Route – the Young Doctors movement for South Asia - has already taken part in his first Executive teleconference and he will join us in London in January for our three days of discussions and decisions. More.

On the subject of Young Doctors I’m also delighted to report that the Eastern Mediterranean Region is the latest to establish a Young Doctor Movement. Called “Al Razi”, after a renowned Persian pharmacist and physician of the 9th century, the group is chaired by Dr Nagwa Hijazi of Egypt. It is hoped that the group can be launched officially during the conference of the Jordanian Society of Family Medicine in Amman, Jordan, from 29th April to 2nd May 2014.

One year of secretariat

And so we come to the end of the first full year of the WONCA Secretariat in Bangkok. It has been a busy and eventful year, with our first Executive and Council meetings, but we survived, and I’m sure will go from strength to strength. My thanks to my great Secretariat team of Dr Nongluck and Arisa and Malee, who make so much of it all happen.

From all of us in Bangkok to all our Member Organisations, Direct Members and Academic Members we wish you a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful 2014.

Dr Garth Manning