From the CEO's desk: our next generation of leaders

October, 2013


WONCA’s Young Doctor Movements

This month I want to highlight WONCA’s Young Doctor movements and the fantastic work they are doing. These are the next generation of leaders of family medicine and of WONCA, and it is wonderful to see so much energy and enthusiasm – reassuring that the future of family medicine is safe in their hands.

One major success from Prague’s Council meeting was the decision of Council to expand membership of the Executive by the inclusion of a Junior Doctor representative. This person will represent the views of the Young Doctor movements on Executive – but also the wider views of all junior doctors within the organization. The hope is that from 2016 onwards the Young Doctor Movements themselves will select this person, but to prevent any delay in the appointment, Executive will make the first choice so that the person selected can attend the next full Executive meeting in London in January 2014.

Executive drew up some Terms of Reference for the post and disseminated these as widely as possible, inviting applications from junior doctors either in family medicine residency training or within five years of completing residency training. A total of 28 applications were received and – as I write – Executive have the hard task of choosing just one from these excellent applications. The successful applicant will be known early in November and will be highlighted in next month’s WONCA News but I’m sure that he or she will be a great addition to Executive.
WONCA now has five Young Doctors movements, covering most of our regions. More details – as ever – are available on the WONCA website but to give you a brief snapshot:

Vasco da Gama (Europe)

The oldest group, having been established in 2005 – and possibly the most active. VdG organises various meetings throughout the year, including pre-conference meetings at all WONCA Europe and World conferences, and is also actively facilitating international exchanges. Chair is Harris Lygidakis (Italy)

Rajakumar (Asia Pacific)

The Rajakumar Movement was launched in 2009, covering the Asia Pacific Region of WONCA. It’s a vast region, and possibly because of that it has not yet managed to be as active as other groups, but it is making progress and we will be encouraging and supporting them as best we can over the next triennium. Current Chair is Naomi Harris (Australia)

Waynakay (Iberoamericana-CIMF)

Waynakay means “youth”, and this movement was launched in Cancun in May 2010, during the World Conference. It has modeled itself on Europe’s VdG Movement and its mission is to strengthen family medicine in the countries of Latin America, promoting leadership, medical education, research and exchange between young doctors in the specialty. Chair is Xavier Maldonado (Ecuador).

Spice Route (South Asia)

Spice Route, for young doctors of the South Asia Region, was established in December 2010 at the South Asia Region Conference in Nepal. Its activities are growing year on year, with pe-conference meetings at a number of venues. Chair is Raman Kumar (India) but with representatives throughout the region.

AfriWON (Africa)

WONCA’s latest Young Doctor Movement, debuting at the Prague World Conference in June 2013, AfriWON is already a very energetic and active group. It is building up its activities towards its first pre-conference meeting in Ghana, in February 2015, just before the next WONCA Africa Region Conference. Chair is Kayode Alao (Nigeria). AfriWON has recently been featured in a WONCA news item

So…we encourage ALL young doctors to join and get involved in the activities of your own regional young doctor movement. Further details, including contact e-mails, are on the websites detailed above.

WONCA Rural Health Conference 2014

The 12th WONCA Rural Health conference will be held in Gramado, Brazil, in 2014. The organisers had an unfortunate “act of God” in that unusually heavy snow caused the roof of their planned venue to collapse, necessitating a change of venue – and a change of dates. Do please note that the conference will still take place in Gramado, but the dates are now 2nd to 6th April 2014. We must salute the members of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Health and the Host Organising Committee for managing to rearrange this so speedily and hope that attendance will not suffer as a result.

ICPC App for iPhones

Finally, for this month, we’re pleased to promote an smart phone app which allows people to load the ICPC codes onto their smart phones for easy reference. Developed by Dr Carlos Martins, a Portuguese GP, and licensed by WONCA, this is likely to appeal particularly to colleagues working in more rural or isolated areas. As WONCA gets a small levy for each app sold we encourage all WONCA members to download this app onto their phones. Both Apple and Android versions are now available.

That’s it from Bangkok for this month. Good wishes to all WONCA members from all the Secretariat staff.

Dr Garth Manning