From the President – October 2019

Photo: Pictured with the Chairman of CMDA, Prof Zhang, and at right Margaret Chan who is well known to family doctors, Donald Li receives the "World Outstanding Chinese Doctor award" of which Margaret was also a recipient.

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Following on from the very successful WONCA Africa conference, the newly formed AfroPHC has built momentum and continues to grow on a daily basis. Its strength lies in the fact that it is an inter-professional organization, grown from on-the-ground practice up through to policy levels, by individuals and organisations who are passionate about making sure that the peoples of Africa have the same access to good quality, qualified primary care services as are available elsewhere in the world.

As part of the growing momentum, opportunities are presenting themselves to challenge,comment on, and respond to policy documents and articles from across the region, some of which aspire to less than the global goal of comprehensive person-centred primary care, leading to Universal Health Coverage.

WONCA Africa region President, Shabir Moosa, is continuing to engage constructively with WHO AFRO officials, who are now actively involved in AfroPHC. Sometimes tenacity wins the day. At global level and at region level, engaging with WHO AFRO has proved difficult over the years. The Astana Declaration, the MOU between WONCA and WHO and an enthusiastic region President have contributed to an era where everyone is working together towards the same goal.

At the same time as the developments in Africa region are playing out, the WONCA Executive members have been busy on your behalf, representing WONCA and its members at a wide range of conferences and events. In September our CEO, Garth Manning, attended the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) meeting; Raman Kumar participated in WHO SEARO meeting; and Meng Chi Lee attended the WHO WIPRO meeting.

We are extremely fortunate in having our WHO Liaison Viviana Martinez-Bianchi represent us at the UN High Level Meeting on UHC in New York (picutred). Vivi was invited to present on four separate occasions during the meeting, and signed the UHC2030 Global Compact on behalf of WONCA on September 26th. (See Vivi presented WONCA’s comments on Universal Health Coverage to the UN General Assembly on UHC; she presented on ‘PHC towards UHC’; she spoke on workforce issues in relation to addressing multi-morbidities; and she represented the Working Party on Rural Practice at a meeting, as well as signing the Global Compact.

Also, in September, our Chair of the Working Party on Quality and Safety, Pilar Astier Pena, was spreading the message of WONCA standards at a conference in Xi’An. Chris van Weel, our former President, was also presenting at the same conference and he brought my greetings to the conference participants.

In October our President-Elect, Anna Stavdal, will participate in our conference in New Mexico, arranged by the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice.

WONCA World Rural Health conference
We should be proud of our growing voice around the world, spreading the message of good quality, professional, family medicine. We will continue to speak out and speak up where we need to.

While I do not like to boast (much!) I am proud to announce that in September I was presented with an award in Qindao in China as one of the top 10 outstanding global Chinese Doctors. Margaret Chan, former Director General of WHO, and a good friend to WONCA, was also presented with the same award. We are living in interesting times!

Donald Li