Promoting Planetary Health

Ralph Guggenheim WONCA Working Party on the Environment posted this reflection on Panetary Health to the groups' discussion forum.

The WONCA Europe 2017 conference seemed a very favorable setting to promote the issue of Planetary Health and increase the general awareness for it. Some of this happened, but the potential is much greater, as well as its appropriate place to be mentioned to a wider audience, such as any medical conference (especially by primary care physicians) as an issue which should require everybody's attention.

Enrique Barros, Chair of the WONCA Working Party on the Environment, and I did our best to arouse attention, with a very positive response in a limited circle. What stood in the way of promoting a broader interest? Or, putting it very concretely, when official speakers facing a plenary session mentioned the range of important issues for family doctors, why wasn't Planetary health even mentioned? The questions need to be discussed, so they can be faced and the strategy adapted.

There is this strong impression that the doctors around us were a both very open-minded as well as motivated population to take on or at least support issues they believe in - along with a wide range of important subjects which deserve our interest and engagement and compete for the little time many doctors have.

Much isn't known about what stands in the way of having doctors clearly promote the Planetary issue.

If we wish to better understand this and not "give gas in neutral gear", we better make this question a main focus of our attention with high priority.

Ralph Guggenheim
WONCA Working Party on the Environment,

Statement on Planetary Health and Sustainable Development Goals 2017
also available in Portuguese and Chinese from our webpage (publications section) and in Hebrew from the author.

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