SIG on Conflict & Catastrophe Medicine to meet in Istanbul

About our new Special Interest Group

The WONCA Special Interest Group on Conflict & Catastrophe Medicine (WONCA SIG C&CM ) provides a forum through which WONCA can lend its support to improving the quality of care of peoples of the world when they face some of life’s greatest challenges. Since Alma-Ata in 1978, the World Health Organisation, United Nations and individual Governments and Administrations have advocated the global use of primary health care to raise the levels of health in deprived populations by acting upon social, economic and political causes of ill health. Population deprivation and health inequality may result from or be exacerbated by wars, revolutions and civil uprisings, terrorism, natural disasters and other humanitarian crises. Global analyses of strategic trends anticipate conditions that could widen global health inequality, making coordinated General Practice/Family Medicine efforts in times of conflict and catastrophe even more important.

General Practitioners / Family Medicine Doctors (GP/FMDs) from over 30 countries tried to help the populations of Afghanistan and Iraq ravaged by conflict. Concurrently, GP/FMD have contributed to the defence of their nations, peacekeeping and peace support activities, anti-piracy initiatives and counter-narcotic operations. GP/FMDs working within international Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations have also provided humanitarian assistance whenever and wherever the need arises, including the 2004 Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2007 flooding in Central Africa, the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. GP/FMDs’ scope of work in these environments is wide-ranging and often includes pre-hospital emergency care, public health, environmental medicine, tropical medicine and community mental health.

What we hope to do

The WONCA SIG C&CM provides useful in-country and regional contacts and networks of GP/FMDs. It encourages collegial discussions between countries, and is a vehicle for sharing best practice and clinical innovation. It also aims to influence the management of medical services during conflict or post-catastrophe in areas that have big needs but are resource poor.

Membership and Istanbul

General membership is open to all GP/FMDs. There are also opportunities for one representative from each WONCA region to join the Executive Committee. A WONCA SIG C&CM ‘European Workshop’ will be held during the WONCA Europe Conference in Istanbul (22-25 October 2015). This will provide an opportunity for all delegates interested in conflict and catastrophe medicine, humanitarian relief and clinical support to displaced persons to learn more about the group, share ideas and become involved. Please come and join us!

More information is available on the website:

or from the Convenor, Professor Rich Withnall
email: SIGC&[email protected]