From the President: Building our influence

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After the WHO Executive Board, in January, and the signing of our landmark MOU with WHO, we are now into the process of discussing and agreeing with our WHO colleagues what we can usefully work on together, to further the primary care and family medicine agenda. The MOU acknowledges the key role played by family doctors globally in the delivery of primary health care.

We are conscious that WONCA depends on a lot of voluntary input from our members, particularly in the work of our Working Parties and Special Interest Groups, some of which work directly with WHO technical committees. In our discussions with WHO, we are being cautious about how much time and input we can commit our Member Organisations, Executive and Secretariat to undertaking. We will endeavour to find the right balance to ensure that we influence global policy and practice, as well as, respecting the work commitments of our members.

In addition to our direct collaboration with WHO at headquarters on global health and policy issues, we are delighted that the MOU offers the opportunity for our WONCA Regional Presidents to initiate or consolidate dialogue with WHO country offices and regional offices. This will bring the family medicine message closer to the grassroots level of planning, implementing and delivering good quality patient care.

There are a wide range of events scheduled for the rest of 2019. These include:

WONCA Executive meeting, in Beijing to coincide with a China Conference on Family Medicine, at which 5,000+ are expected to attend.

- WONCA Asia Pacific region conference, in Kyoto
- World Health Assembly in Geneva. Here, with the President-Elect, our WONCA-WHO Liaison person, and our CEO, we will further our collaboration with technical and policy officers, and clusters within WHO. We also look forward to building stronger collaborations with other organisations with which WONCA has ongoing relationships, such as World Medical Association, International Federation of Medical Students Associations, International Council of Nurses, World Federation of Public Health Associations.

- WONCA Africa region conference, Kampala
- WONCA Europe conference, Bratislava

- American Academy of Family Physicians meeting, Philadelphia. AAFP are WONCA’s largest Member Organisation.

- WONCA Executive meeting, Bangkok
- WONCA South Asia region conference, Lahore

Attendance at these regional events is a great opportunity to meet so many of you, and I look forward to meeting again with old friends, and making many new friends at the various events.

I will continue to liaise with our WONCA Working Parties and Special Interest Groups (WPs and SIGs) and match appropriate international and global organisations with them. My aim is to build on the influence and name recognition of WONCA, for the important work that our WPs and SIGs do. This has been particularly successful in cross-cutting issues such as the environment, disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness so far. You will note from the ‘In my view’ news item that this month I have invited Professor Sir Andy Haines to write about the forthcoming Declaration on Planetary Health, on which members of our WP on the Environment collaborated. See "In my View: Sir Andy Haines"

There will be other mutually beneficial links to pursue in the coming months and we look forward to that.

Donald Li
WONCA President