SIG on Emergency Medicine annual report

The 2019-2020 year has seen some significant growth for the WONCA special interest group (SIG) on emergency medicine. We now number more than 200 participants from all regions of the world, with very active participation. Updates are sent to members every 2-3 months detailing the work of the SIG and strong positive feedback on our activities is regularly received.

The highlight of the year would undoubtedly have to be the WONCA Emergency Medicine Seminar (WEMSEM) that was hosted by Nepal on August 9-10, 2019. (photo above) My sincere thanks to Prof Pratap Prasad, Dr Pramendra Prasad, Dr Laxman Bhusal and all the hard-working colleagues in Nepal who made this incredible event possible. We had over 250 participants, including 23 international delegates, who presented on a wide range of emergency medicine topics including critical care, airway management and ultrasound applications. Importantly, the WEMSEM provided a forum for discussion on how emergency care can be delivered effectively and safely in rural environments.

The inaugural session of an "International Educational & Cultural Exchange Series on Emergency Medicine" was held at Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur on 28th August 2019 with strong participation from WONCA SIG EM members. The invited speaker for the event was Dr Elena Klusova, who delivered a session on "Helicopter rescue and Out of Hospital Emergency Medicine" followed by a panel discussion. The panelists included Dr Resmi S Kaimal, President of AFPI Kerala, and fellows from the Academic College of Emergency Experts in India. Dr Nisanth Menon was the organizer and moderator for the session. The meeting ended with an ample dose of inspiration to the medical students, aligning them to primary care and emergency medicine.

As we entered 2020, the world had to unfortunately confront the COVID-19 pandemic. The SIG EM has a number of abstracts and presentations submitted to conferences such as the WONCA Asia Pacific and Europe regional conferences. As a result of the pandemic, both these conferences have had to be postponed. However, the Spanish EM SIG team has been able to make a general rehearsal of the carefully prepared complex Escape Room workshop proposed for the WONCA and DEGAM congress. We thank Dr Miriam Rey, Dr Elena Klusova and Dr Rabee Kazan for representing our group in the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine in Barcelona, Spain and opening the path to the new chain of work planned by the group for the future.

In an effort to support family doctors around the world, the SIG EM has committed to working with the WONCA executive to collaborate and contribute on the COVID webinar series. Since the initial webinar trial, we have planned to collaborate to deliver content on topics such as mental health and medical education. As the pandemic unfolds, we will continue to work with our WONCA colleagues to support their work and everyday practices as they care for patients during these uncertain times.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the hard work of my executive committee, Dr Elena Klusova (Spain), Dr Pramendra Prasad (Nepal), Dr Nisanth Menon (India), Dr Joy Mugambi (Kenya) and Dr Kim Yu (USA). Without their support and collaborations, none of our great work would be possible. It is now, more than ever, that we need the global community to work together to ensure that family medicine plays an appropriate leading role in caring for our patients and communities.

Dr Victor Ng
Convenor, WONCA Special Interest Group on Emergency Medicine