President's letter to Member Organizations June 7, 2018

The WONCA President has written to Member Organizations encouraging them to take up a the opportunity to influence a new Declaration on the fortieth anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration.

Dear Member Organizations, and WONCA colleagues,

As you will see from the June WONCA News, we have a major opportunity in the next four months to influence the World Health Organization’s strategy for strengthening primary health care over the next 10 years. It is the fortieth Anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration, in October, so many of your country representatives will be attending a major meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, to agree a new Declaration and a programme of work.

Your World WONCA Executive met in Warsaw during May, and confirmed that this is a key focus for our organization in the immediate future. WONCA Executive members are all working hard to try to include family doctors in this vision and document, and to highlight the particular importance of training the workforce to meet the needs of rural, remote, and underserved populations. But, getting our voice heard among the many others, needs all of us to speak out! So please, as member organizations, please consider taking action at national level. If you can access your country delegates to WHO, or at least send written statements to them, this is a good time to do so. We do not have the Declaration yet, but a version will soon be circulated to countries for their official comment.

People sometimes ask – how do I get my voice heard at this level? Using professional representatives, contacts via your local political representatives, using social and communications media appropriately, ensuring we speak for our patients’ needs and not just our own, and building momentum across different organizations, can all help. We attach a briefing document which could form the basis of your statements and outputs. It can be used in part or whole as needed and translated if you want. I do hope you can take this on in your busy lives and support this work. We are a huge global presence, and what we do now may make a difference to the future.

Briefing document for statements
On a more ‘internal’ note, the Executive also made detailed preparations for Seoul, and for our Council meeting there. We looked at finances, communications strategies, priorities for the next biennium, the outputs of Working Parties and Special Interest Groups (including presentations from the Chairs of the Working Party on Mental Health and Working Party on Research), and noted the two recent accreditation pilot visits to China and Canada. We also signed off one new country member and one academic member. Business is good, though the world has many difficulties and our members are at the heart of these in many places. Thanks to all of you for your efforts.

Professor Amanda Howe,
WONCA President.