Rural Round-up: networking with rural colleagues around the world

Jo Scott-Jones of New Zealand writes this month's rural round-up as rural family doctors from around the world prepare to meet up in Dubrovnik.

More about this month's WONCA World Rural conference in Dubrovnik  Dr Jo Scott-Jones is the WONCA News' featured doctor for March 2015
One value of an international body like the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice (WWPRP) is the ability to tap into the “hive consciousness” of rural family medicine doctors around the world.

Understanding that the issues that we face in New Zealand have parallels with what happens in Brazil, Croatia and Africa is not only comforting, but it also increases our ability to deal with those issues through unified action.

The Working Party has a facebook page, a twitter handle (@ruralwonca) and an email list server where rural doctors around the world post concerns, raise issues, make please for support and organise themselves.

The list server is hosted in a google group shared privately and administered by WWPRP chairperson John Wynn-Jones of Wales in the UK.

Recent issues include planning for the upcoming conference in DubrovnikBringing People Together.

People running workshops at the conference, for example around the rural heroes project and providing palliative care services in rural communities use the list server to identify supporters and to share ideas about how to make the best out of the opportunities the conference offers.

The list server is a great vehicle to promote meetings and events amongst the 400 plus members around the world , the April EQuIP meeting in Switzerland, a webinar about the use of social media and WHO internships have recently been promoted.

Members have asked for advice about how to get papers published, gathered information about management of type 2 diabetes around the world, promoted discussions about health and inequality, rural proofing and national systems for monitoring immunisation.

The common themes raised on these “social media” platforms are those we all know well in rural practice. People need high quality services provided close to home, but workforce shortages and geographical isolation, often combined with issues of poverty and the inequities faced by indigenous and disenfranchised people mean that doctors who care for rural communities face unique but shared problems around the world.

The WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice as part of the WONCA Family provides support and adds an influential voice at international policy tables to further the needs of our communities.

If the idea of being “linked in” to rural colleagues around the globe appeals – you can be invited to join the list server by sending an email to John Wynn-Jones ([email protected])

Jo Scott-Jones @opotikigp