From the CEO's desk: new webinars and secretariat transition

September, 2020

Greetings again to all WONCA members, wherever in the world you might be. We continue to live in very uncertain times, but hope that you and your loved ones are managing to survive the global pandemic as best you can.

WONCA Webinars

This month I want especially to highlight the latest series of WONCA webinars, which started a couple of weeks ago.

Earlier this year, and with so many WONCA events being postponed or cancelled, we were determined to reach out to, and connect with, our global membership. To that end we planned a series of nine webinars, linked to COVID-19, to run on nine consecutive Sundays throughout April and May. These webinars were extremely well received, and in fact can still be viewed on YouTube at

Having taken a well-earned rest over the (northern) summer months, we then started to plan for a second series of webinars. I have commented many times before about the rich expertise we are fortunate to have in our Working Parties (WPs) and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The first series of webinars amply demonstrated this, and we had high hopes for the second series. We were not disappointed!

An Organising Committee was established by Executive, to plan for this second series. Led by Dr Pratyush Kumar, the Organising Committee comprises Drs Raman Kumar, Jinan Usta and Jacqueline Ponzo and Professor Mehmet Ungan. WPs and SIGs were asked to bid for one of the eight sessions being allocated in this second round, with preference given to those who had not yet had a chance to present. In the event, nine good bids were received and so the second series has been extended to nine webinars.

Full details of new webinar series.
The full list is:

20 September - SIG on Health Equity
27 September - WP on Women and Family Medicine
04 October - WP on eHealth
11 October - SIG on Ageing and Health
18 October - SIG on Complexities in Health
25 October - WP on Mental Health
01 November - SIG on Cancer and Palliative care
08 November - SIG on Adolescent and Young Adult Care
15 November - WP on the Environment

We hope very much that as many as possible will join, either via Zoom or on Facebook. As previously, webinars will also be recorded and posted on YouTube for those who want to watch after the live event.

WONCA Secretariat Transition

I thought it would also be useful to give members an overview of where we are up to with the transition of the WONCA Secretariat from Bangkok to Brussels. Dr Harris Lygidakis, CEO-designate, has been working hard to sort out the legal, logistics and financial framework for the new Secretariat, with regular Zoom calls with me, President, President elect and Hon Treasurer.

Some of the Secretariat functions (accounting and general administration) are being subcontracted out to an Association Management Company, and Harris and I have been assessing all bids received, shortlisting the top contenders and then interviewing the companies concerned. A decision on the successful bidder has just been made (at time of writing) but will only be released to members once Executive has been officially informed.

The Secretariat itself will house the CEO, his new Chief Admin Officer and a Communications/PR officer. This latter post will in part take on the role of WONCA Editor, so effectively performed by Dr Karen Flegg over these past 10 years, but with an expanded role to look after social media, general communications and WONCA public relations. Job descriptions for both posts have been drawn up and recruitment is currently under way.

More details on the CAO post More details of the Communications/PR post
The CEO, together with the new CAO, will take post officially on 1st November, to overlap with the current Secretariat staff during November and December. They will formally assume the Secretariat role on 1st January 2021, when the Bangkok staff will close that office and prepare for the final audit of the 2020 accounts.

We will report more fully on the transition in next month’s WONCA News.

And that’s it for another month. We continue to miss the personal contact with you all and look forward to the day when we can all meet up again. Stay safe and stay well.

Dr Garth Manning