From the CEO's desk: conferences and World Family Doctor Day

April, 2017

Hello again from the WONCA Secretariat in Bangkok.

WONCA Conferences

The conference season is really under way now, with a very successful Eastern Mediterranean Region conference just completed in Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year, but all reports suggest that it was a most enjoyable event with many good keynotes, seminars and workshops. Next year’s WONCA EMR conference will be held in Kuwait, from 1st to 4th March, so make sure you get the dates in your diaries.

Next up will be the WONCA Rural Health conference in Cairns, Australia, from 29th April to 1st May, followed by WONCA Europe in Prague from 28th June to 1st July.

August is a busy month, with two regional events – WONCA Iberoamericana in Lima, Peru, from 17th to 19th August and WONCA Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, from 18th to 20th August.

November too is busy. WONCA Asia Pacific Region will hold their conference in Pattaya, Thailand, from 1st to 4th November whilst WONCA South Asia’s conference is planned for Kathmandu, Nepal, on 25th and 26th November.

Full details of all WONCA conferences are, of course, available on the WONCA website.

World Family Doctor Day – 19th May

In just about six weeks from the time this article is published, World Family Doctor Day will be upon us once again. World Family Doctor Day (FDD) – 19th May - was first declared by WONCA in 2010 and it has become a day to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world. The event has gained momentum globally each year and it is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the central role of our specialty in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for all of our patients. It’s also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in family medicine and the special contributions of family doctors all around the world.

"World Family Doctor Day: May 19" has become important as the day spreads around the world, and has been translated into a number of different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese:

- Día Mundial del Médico de Familia: 19 de Mayo

- Dia Mundial do Médico de Família: 19 de Maio

- 519世界家庭醫師日

2017 FDD theme - Depression

We’re happy for Member Organizations to develop their own theme for FDD, depending on local priorities, but this year we’d especially like to highlight depression. Depression is the chosen theme for World Health Day (7th April), and we feel it’s especially important to highlight this debilitating condition.

In its mildest form, depression may mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, though, depression can be life-threatening because it can make patients feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live. It’s a potentially serious condition that affects both physical AND mental health. As an indication, more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States alone suffer from depression, with feelings that do not go away. They persist and interfere with everyday life.

WHO has made a number of posters and videos and information leaflets available for general use, and has even produced regional variations of many of the posters. These materials can all be found on the WHO website.

As before, WONCA has also made generic FDD posters available via the WONCA website, and the FDD logo is also available there.

Last year many of our colleagues across the globe celebrated the day by organising a variety of events and activities, and we received reports and photographs from many countries, which we were able to feature in WONCA News. Karen Flegg, the WONCA Editor, has even produced a template for countries and College and societies and associations, to aid reporting. We look forward very much to receiving reports of this year’s activities and will feature a number of these in future WONCA News editions. Submit reports here.

WONCA Executive meeting in London

Your WONCA Executive is scheduled to meet in London from 31st March to 2nd April, but print deadlines mean that a report on the meeting will appear in next month’s WONCA News, and I will report back in my May column on key discussions held and any key decisions made.

Until next month.

Dr Garth Manning