From the CEO's desk: June activities and the future

June, 2015

Hello again

Thankfully June has been a slightly quieter month for the Secretariat, and for me, after a very hectic few weeks through April and May.


I started the month in Seoul, South Korea, attending the international conference of ICOH – the International Commission on Occupational Health. ICOH is the occupational health equivalent of WONCA, and is one of our Organizations in Collaborative Relationship. WONCA and ICOH have jointly developed a “Pledge” on workers’ health and this was launched by our President, Michael Kidd, in Lisbon last year, during the WONCA Europe conference.

Only 15% of the world’s workers have access to an occupational health system, and this may be as low as 2% in less developed countries (where it is almost always provided on an individual basis by one or two large international companies). This means that the doctor most likely to see a worker – for whatever condition and however caused – is likely to be the primary care physician. Thus there is a real need to assist primary care doctors in their recognition and prevention and management of work-related health issues. WONCA recognises that worker’s health is an important component of our work as family doctors in each of our countries, and so two occupational health physicians – Peter Buijs and Frank van Dijk - have been contributing an article on workers’ health to WONCA News every 2nd month. You can read their latest article here.

While I was at the conference I took part in two really interesting sessions. The first was a half-day session on occupational health and primary health care, whilst the second was a half-day session on occupational health within Universal Health Coverage. Dr Ivan Ivanov, of WHO in Geneva, facilitated this session. We already work closely with Ivan on occupational health issues, and are exploring ways in which we can collaborate further with WHO, and also ILO (the International Labour Organization) on workers’ health matters.

Whilst I was in Korea I also met with some of the Host Organizing Committee for the 2018 WONCA World Conference. They are already busy with their planning, for what promises to be a wonderful conference, and we look forward to October 2018 in Seoul.


Before Korea, though, we are looking forward to the 2016 World Conference in Rio next November (2nd to 5th). I will be travelling next month to Brazil for the latest meeting of the Conference Planning Committee, and will report more fully in next month’s column. More information on the conference here.

WHO Integrated Person Centred Care Strategy

WHO has been developing a strategy on integrated and person-centred care, and WONCA has made several contributions to the development. The final version of this Strategy will be submitted for discussion at the January 2016 WHO Executive Board, before presentation to the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016. Prior to this, WHO is inviting additional contributions to enrich and revise the current interim documents. WONCA members are encouraged to provide inputs before the closing date of 15th July. Link to the survey

WONCA Annual Report

A brief word on the WONCA Annual report. It’s hard to believe but it’s two years since the wonderful world conference in Prague – and thus two years since the current Executive took up their position. Last year we produced WONCA’s first-ever Annual Report, covering the period from June 2013 to the end of June 2014. Preliminary work has already begun on the second Annual Report, which will cover from July 2014 to June 2015, and we hope to have that available in the last quarter of this year, when it will sent out to all Member Organizations and will also be accessible via the WONCA website. All Regional Presidents, and Chairs of WONCA Working Parties and Special Interest Groups, have been invited to contribute, as a way of keeping all members fully informed of the organization and its activities.


Last month’s column finished with the sad news of the death of two WONCA stalwarts, so this month it’s great to finish on some happier news. Our warmest congratulations to Dr Luisa Pettigrew, WONCA Executive Member-at-Large, and also our WHO Liaison, on the birth of Daniel on 22nd June. We send her, Santi, Sebastian and Daniel our very best wishes.

Until next month.

Dr Garth Manning