Scandinavian Delegation celebrates 30 years of conferences

Dr Allan Pelch of Denmark, long time organiser / coordinator of the Scandinavian Delegation of Family Physicians which dates back to 1988 and the World WONCA Conference in New Orleans, reflects on 30 years of activities. Allan is pictured at front right (blue shirt) with the delegation who attended the world conference in RIo, in 2017, this visit outside a hospital in Manaus, Brazil.

Dear WONCA friends,

This year, 2018, marks our 30th year of organising Scandinavian delegations to WONCA conferences! I have no idea how many we have attended, but a conservative guess would be 40 or 50. Very conservative!

Our first conference was the 1988 World WONCA Conference in New Orleans. Very much encouraged by Dan Ostergaard (USA), we visited AAFP’s Assemblies for the next many years. We still do!

Back then Wes Fabb was the WONCA CEO. Dan introduced us to WONCA’s leadership and from then on we focused on WONCA’s conferences worldwide.

Our delegations have visited six out of seven continents! (The seventh being Antarctica!). We have been much helped by the WONCA Secretariat and the CEOs: Wes Fabb, Alfred Loh, and now Garth Manning. And we count as our friends these past and present presidents: Bob Higgins, Chris van Weel, Michael Kidd, Rich Roberts and now Amanda Howe.

May I quote Rich Roberts from a recent letter to me: “WONCA conferences lead to opportunities to meet other family physicians and learn about their experiences, collaborate on research and to visit local practices."

WONCA conferences are also great fun and many more should take advantage of these opportunities. May I add that we always add a post-conference tour for our delegates and their “accompanying persons”.

Photo: the delegation to Nepal in 2017.

And the future? We will certainly be a part of most of this year’s conferences and we count on the continued support of our Nordic Colleges of GPs. Their support is an important factor in our success.

We are aiming to attend WONCA Conferences in Krakow, Seoul, and New Delhi, in 2018. I have asked my younger colleague, Dr Peter Hansen, to share the responsibilities with me. Peter was the excellent leader of our delegation to Kathmandu in 2017.

I thank the editor for this opportunity to share our celebration with other WONCA members. We are looking forward to another great year with you and with WONCA.

Allan Pelch. M.D.