From the President: July 2018

Photo: WONCA Executive at their recent Warsaw meeting


WONCA has gone quiet in terms of meetings, as we run up to our World conference in Seoul, in October.

I attended a conference in Romania, on perinatal mental health, as an invited speaker, and managed to see a few of our members while I was in the country. I also received reports of a further two early pilots of our accreditation processes – one in China for practice accreditation, and one in Canada for educational accreditation – good learning, and impressive achievements.

The WONCA Executive meeting held in May, in Warsaw, covered important ground in preparation for the Seoul World Council, and the transition to the next biennium. It was fully attended, and we all worked hard over two days to examine issues of membership fees, conference plans, organisation for elections, and some needs analysis around secretariat capacity – especially for communications and policy dissemination. This was linked to a short workshop on advocacy skills – an important knowledge base for anyone interested in influencing others to create change. We looked forward to awards and recognitions of some of our members’ individual achievements. And we had presentations on the work of the Working Party on Research and Working Party on Mental Health – both of which are thriving and delivering amazing work.

The governance of a global network organization like WONCA is a huge and unusual challenge. Our Council meets only once every two years - many members are new, and attend Council only once in their careers. Indeed the President only chairs WONCA Council once in their tenure! Executive will account there for the financial situation, and make proposals based on predictions for what is needed to help WONCA survive and thrive. We shall expect reports and work plans from our Working Parties and Special Interest Groups. We shall look at the patterns of membership and family medicine presence across the world, so that we understand where the challenges still are, and each regional President will report on this. Voting will occur for your representatives for the next period, both within Council and in the regional and Young Doctors’ Movements. We shall discuss and share views and expertise. And we shall also update you on the World Health Organisation activities, and highlight priorities for our next two years, under the Presidential leadership of Dr Donald Li.

It is therefore important that all member organisations make time for consideration of the business for Seoul and we shall try to get the papers to you promptly so you have time to discuss and ask questions before the meeting. Plan this into your diaries now, and I look forward so much to meeting you and learning more about your work. Arrangements for Seoul.

Thank you for supporting me in my Presidency, for supporting our hardworking WONCA Executive and Secretariat, and for those who have a summer holiday – have a good one!

Amanda Howe
WONCA President