From the President: July 2017

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The majority of business since I last wrote to you has included our attendance at WHO for the World Health Assembly – preparation before, activity during, and many opportunities and actions afterwards. That report is submitted elsewhere in the newsletter, but to note – we particularly need to consider issues around the collection of data and evidence (“show us that more family doctors in the system improves the outcomes for patients!” was a frequent request).

Among others, we met with colleagues from the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, the International Federation of Medical Students Association, nine Directorates, and two regional office reps. We need to continue to expand effective collaborations with such groups to advance our impact at WHO and country level. Thanks to Donald Li, Garth Manning and Viviana Martinez-Bianchi (all pictured at WHO with the president).

We have also enjoyed World Family Doctor Day, with its activities, and I am grateful to all who participated, also for the lovely coverage in WONCA News. See all reports here.

I recently sent a President’s newsletter to our member organisations, and was pleased to get some appreciative responses – part of our effort to make our activities more meaningful for member organisations. Finally, by the time you read this, I – with many others - will have been to the WONCA Europe conference in Prague, which I am sure is going to be amazing!

However for me personally, the last month has not all been productive professional action. I now share the sad global experience of my own country becoming threatened by both political instability and terrorism. I am grateful for the many kind messages, but it is hard – to see people killed in the course of their daily lives as visitors and citizens.

My talk in Prague will explore the challenges of conflict resolution and the role of family doctors as a part of society which can make a reality of inclusivity, respect for others, and caring across any cultural divides. I think we are playing a significant part in making people feel valued – no matter who they are. I hope there is a chance for healing: let’s keep making the most marginalised of our patients feel they can be part of society – this can changes hearts and minds.

Go well, and thanks for your hard work everywhere.

Professor Amanda Howe
President WONCA