From the CEO's desk: July 2020

Greetings again. COVID-19 still rages in many parts of the world, and family doctors continue to work on the front line of this dreadful pandemic. You are all very much in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

WONCA World in Abu Dhabi (and Sydney)

The main news this month concerns confirmation of the postponement of our World Council and conference in Abu Dhabi. I wrote last month that considerable time and effort had gone into looking at a variety of options, forced on us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our preferred options were either not allowed under current WONCA Bylaws or else ran the risk of not achieving a quorum in council, thereby rendering any decisions made invalid.

We had narrowed options down to two main ones, which were then put to Executive and circulated to our Member Organizations (MOs) for consultation. We were really pleased to receive many responses from MOs, and gratified that so many of them expressed their appreciation at being fully informed and consulted. The net outcome was that the vast majority of MOs felt that postponement was the best option, and this was endorsed by Executive at its latest teleconference. A letter has gone out to all MOs informing them of this decision and a copy can be found on the WONCA website.

The postponement is for 12 clear months, with new dates, at the time of writing, for Council being 21st to 23rd November 2021 and conference from 25th to 28th November 2021. Venue remains unchanged at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Directly linked to this, we have also agreed with the HOC for Sydney 2022 that it will also be postponed by up to 12 months, so instead of October 2022 the events will now take place in the last quarter of 2023, with dates to be confirmed.

The current WONCA Executive will (subject to regional ratifications) continue in office until November 2021. A new Executive will be voted into office at that time and serve until October/November 2023. Finally, the conference provisionally scheduled for 2024 will now move to 2025.

These have been very difficult decisions to have to make in these extraordinary times, but we are especially grateful to MOs for providing us with their views and for their support, and for the great cooperation and flexibility of the HOCs for both Abu Dhabi and Sydney - Emirates Medical Association and Royal Australian College of GPs.

Some FAQs from HOC for Abu Dhabi

WONCA Events

WONCA conferences are such a great experience, with the opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the globe. 2020 really has been a wipe-out where WONCA conferences have been concerned, though we take some small consolation that – at the time of writing in any case – WONCA Europe will go ahead in Berlin from 17th to 19th December 2020. More information here.

Sadly WONCA APR, in Auckland (New Zealand) in November, is likely to remain out of bounds for most due to New Zealand’s very strict quarantine rules. At best, some colleagues from Australia might also be able to attend.

We do, however, look forward to more WONCA events in 2021:
- WONCA Asia Pacific Region in Yangon, Myanmar, from 9th to 12th April 2021
- WONCA Europe in Amsterdam, from 7th to 10th July 2021
- World Rural Health Conference in Kampala, Uganda, from 5th to 7th August 2021

And in 2022 we can look forward to
- WONCA Europe in London from 1st to 4th June 2022
- WONCA Rural Health Conference in Ireland, dates to be confirmed.

WONCA Webinars

As a way of keeping in contact with our members, and as a partial substitute for our conferences, WONCA ran a series of webinars through April and May this year, which were very well received. We have been taking a short break, but we hope to come back with a second series of webinars in the last quarter of the year. We will be meeting with the leaders of our Working Parties and Special Interest Groups towards the end of July and hope to draw up a programme of new webinars which we will promote to you as soon as we can.

See WONCA webinars here.
That’s it for this month, but stay safe and well, everyone.

Dr Garth Manning
CEO