Special Feature: World Family Doctor Day

May 19 is the date for World Family Doctor Day. This year was the second time that this day has been celebrated

About World Family Doctor Day

At the WONCA World Council Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in May 2010, council unanimously approved the creation of World Family Doctor Day.

It was officially launched on May 19, 2010 by the then WONCA President, Professor Chris van Weel, in the opening session of the WONCA World Conference, in Cancun.

WONCA, as the international organization for family doctors and recognized by the World Health Organization, will name a day each year as World Family Doctor Day and encourage its regions and member organizations to acknowledge this day, in their own special way.

In inviting member organization to participate, WONCA CEO, Dr Alfred Loh said “World Family Doctor Day provides the opportunity to celebrate the role of the family doctor / general practitioner in health care systems around the world. Not restricted to doctors alone, their families, their patients and their other colleagues in family medicine / general practice would also be encouraged to take part. It will open up many opportunities to highlight the important contributions of family doctors globally. Most importantly, World Family Doctor Day will provide recognition to family doctors and hopefully lead to increased morale, as well as the opportunity to highlight important issues relating to family doctors and the work we perform in supporting health care for all people in our local communities, our nations and around the world.”

The activities

Many member organizations accepted the challenge to celebrate World Family Doctor Day, in 2011. This year has seen an expansion of activities, some of which are summarized below. We would be pleased to hear of other activities for publication in the next edition of WONCA News. Country by country, proposed activities that have been notified to the WONCA secretariat are listed below.

World Family Doctor Day 2012 on YouTube

Australia: I heart my GP

Vasco da Gama Movement (Europe): the importance of being a GP

Chile: Día del Médico Familiar (español) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7On4-5jRbSYandfeature=g-all-s


Dr J Humphreys, member of the local Antigua chapter of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians (CCFP) has penned an article about World Family Doctor Day, giving the background to the day, and using ideas from other Colleges around the world, encourages his colleagues to support the local college, CCFP.


I heart my GP
In Australia, general practice registrars and medical students have enlisted the help of esteemed author, Prof John Murtagh, to develop a campaign for this year's World Family Doctor Day: I heart my GP. They are inviting members of the public to post online their ‘good news’ stories about their own GPs.

You can see the promo video featuring Prof Murtagh, on YouTube at:

Background information at:

A ‘medical home’ for all

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

The RACGP’s press release on the day encourages Australians to have a ‘medical home’ on World Family Doctor Day. RACGP President Professor Claire Jackson highlighted the significance of general practitioners (GPs) in providing comprehensive and coordinated healthcare and said “World Family Doctor Day is a timely reminder that all Australians should have access to a ‘medical home’, especially people with complex healthcare needs, such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases.”

“It is important to have your own regular GP who knows you, and who you feel comfortable with. Your GP will have access to your complete medical history and can ensure you receive the best care possible. World Family Doctor Day is a great opportunity to celebrate our hardworking and devoted GPs,” Professor Jackson concluded.

To mark the second anniversary of World Family Doctor Day, the RACGP Foundation will launch the exciting new Support GPs initiative. The RACGP Foundation supports GPs by enabling them to deliver the highest level of quality healthcare through the provision of funding for key projects, offering research grants, awards and scholarships.

The College’s Support GPs campaign enables the Australian community to become further engaged in the importance of general practice research and invites individuals to invest in this important cause. Support GPs also encourages patients to publically thank their GP for their care, advice and support through an online ‘GP Wall of Inspiration’.

The RACGP Foundation’s Support GPs initiative is proudly partnered with the General Practice Registrars Australia’s (GPRA) I heart my GP campaign, which calls for the public to share positive GP stories.

The press release also gave these interesting facts. There are over 100 million GP consultations taking place in Australia annually and 83 percent of the Australian population consults a GP at least once a year.


Chronic = Basic

Chairman Tom Jacobs opens the day
Jan De Maeseneer plays shadowgame with the always elusive theme of "Equity in Care"
President Maaike Van Overloop cites Hippocrates Roy Remmen remembers how he learned to work with chronic disease
Caroline Van Velden demonstrates teamwork

The Flemish part of the Belgian Society organized on World Family Doctors Day a conference themed Chronic = Basic. Several speakers tackled the subject from different angles: chronic wounds, out of hours care, diabetes, and so on.

Jan De Maeseneer spoke about the future of family medicine facing a rising burden of chronic diseases, and the looming inequity. Roy Remmen synthesised the lessons learned: from how he learned to care for chronic diseases to how it is taught today: a permanent shift towards quality in caring.

President Maaike Van Overloop and Chairman Tom Jacobs were happy at closing time.

A day well spent.

Carl Steylaerts


Doctors in Bolivia after 51 days of striking reached an agreement on World Family Doctor Day. On World Family Doctor Day, family doctors made a banner of thanks to their patients for tolerance and understanding.

On behalf of all family physicians in Bolivia, we would like to send to all family physicians in the world, our sincere congratulations and long distance greetings.

A nombre de todos los medicos familiares de Bolivia, quiere hacer llegar a todos los medicos familiares del mundo, nuestras más sinceras felicitaciones y un abrazo en la distancia.

Miguel Angel Suarez Cuba


College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)

Banners in English and French, developed last year were again used to promote World Family Doctor Day. Sandy Buchman MD, President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada wrote a general letter which is on the College website in English and French. An extract from the letter is included below.

“On World Family Doctor Day, the CFPC celebrates its members and the great work that we do together to advance primary care in Canada. Over the last year we have made significant progress on two initiatives that are priorities because of the very real benefits they offer to family doctors, other health professionals and, most of all, our patients across the country.

The first is the introduction of A Vision for Canada: Family Practice - The Patient’s Medical Home – a model of primary care that provides timely access to health care services for all Canadians through their family practice settings: a place where all patients have personal family doctors and where all their health care requirements are coordinated for timely access to the full range of medical and health care services they may require. The CFPC is dedicated to the implementation of the Patient’s Medical Home vision.

Another key priority for the College is the implementation of the Triple C - a competency-based curriculum for family medicine education that is comprehensive, focused on continuity of education and patient care, and centred in family medicine.”


In Chile every university had their own activities. In particular, residents from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile took the idea from Australia and prepared a short video promoting our role through the opinion of family doctors and patients, and shared it through social networks. We hope it's the first in a series. You can see it (in Spanish) here:


Happy family doctor day!

Jorge López G


Croatia hosted the Euripa forum which was held the weekend of May 13-14 as part of activities for World Family Doctor Day. There were also official talks with minister. The Euripa topics were awesome in terms of GP/FD education, rural practices etc.

More news to come.

Mario Malnar


Our activities will be: meeting for all family physicians in primary health care in Egypt and medical students to be held on May 19 at the Medical syndicate, in Cairo. This meeting is organized by the Egyptian Family Medicine Association (Egyptian Society for Improving Family Health) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and population (MOHP), family medicine departments, medical syndicate, and the Egyptian Fellowship for Family Doctors. In this meeting we will discuss the importance of family medicine, challenges, and also scientific lectures (such as case studies) will be given.

Dr Taghreed M Farahat


Since Family medicine is still young in Ghana, we have decided to put an article in the largest circulating newspaper, Daily Graphic, on May 19. The article will cover introduction to family doctors; history of family medicine in the world, Africa and Ghana; training of the family doctor; and the role of the family doctor in the health care delivery system of Ghana. The article is reprinted elsewhere in this issue of WONCA News.

Dr Henry Lawson


On behalf of the Cretan Practice- Based Primary Care Research Network we would like to congratulate and welcome this WONCA initiative to promote Family Medicine and establish a World Family Doctor Day. A teleconference and an email exchange of opinions between the general practitioners members of our network has been planned on May 19, 2012. Among the main topic of the anticipated stimulating discussion would be the challenge and problems that Greek GPs serving rural areas face in the current financial recession. The key question that will be discussed is: To what extent the financial crisis impacts on health, quality of care and health equity.

On behalf of the Cretan Practice- Based Primary Care Research Network and the Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, University of Crete, Greece.

Professor Lionis Christos, Tsiligianni Ioanna, Anastasiou Foteini and Prokopiadou Dimitra


Hong Kong will have a public event in a busy shopping center where a few family physicians will be sharing encounters with patients in a way similar to the I heart my GP on World Family Doctor Day. I am officiating at the event and kicking off by telling the public about how World Family Doctor came around through WONCA.

Donald Li
WONCA Aisa Pacific Region President


The Mexican College sent a release to the 30 member associations inviting them to celebrate the World Family Doctor´s Day, getting an excellent response.

The member associations of the Mexican College all over the country had different academic activities to celebrate the World Family Doctor´s Day and some of them also combine social activities such as brunches and dinners.

The Mexican College of Family Medicine sent a congratulatory message to all of its associations commemorating the World Family Doctors’ Day also inviting them to celebrate it as a very important day for our Organizations.

Dr Rosa del Carmen Avila Ramirez


Mongolian Association of Family Medicine Specialists

Your and My Doctor, My Friend, the Family Doctor

The Mongolian Association of Family Medicine Specialists’ planned activities to commemorate World Family Doctor Day have an objective to enhance the engagement of individuals in health promotion and provide the population knowledge on health and healthy lifestyle. Yet it will also aim to support improvement of the quality of primary health care and promote the services of Family Health Centers among the population.

The Press Conference on World Family Doctor Day will be held at the Ministry of Health of Mongolia on 18 May 2012 at 11.00 am with participation of the officials from MoH and MAFMS.

Family Health Centers will be open on Saturday, 19 May 2012, on World Family Doctor Day throughout the country providing health information and performing health checks for the population. The health checks will include measurement of blood pressure, blood sugar test and screening of breast and cervical cancer.

In capital city of Ulaanbaatar, the World Family Doctor Day event is to be held at the Michid-Asral Family Health Center of SonginoKhairkhan District. The event will involve around 700 people such as three doctors and nurses representing each family health center of Ulaanbaatar, two representatives from each community served by family health center and family health volunteers. It will also feature physical exercises involving elderly participants and children and drawing competition among children on a topic My Friend - Family Doctor. Simple ways of prevention of noncontagious diseases will be taught at the event and information on safe drug use, healthy living and cumbering risk behavior.

The event will also be marked by participation of officials from Ministry of Health, Mongolian Association of Family Medicine Specialists, Governor’s Office of the Ulaanbaatar City, Ulaanbaatar City Health Department, district governor offices and district  health centers of Ulaanbaatar, partnering organizations and press/media.

Thus, from now on, the Mongolian family doctors will have their own day of celebration every year to mark their tremendous efforts to deliver quality and accessible primary health care to the population based on family medicine. They will celebrate their day with their clientele.

Prof S Sonin
President, Mongolian Association of Family Medicine Specialists


General Practice Association of Nepal (GPAN).

Prof Waris Qidwai (centre front) chair of WONCA’s working party on research with participants at an event at which he presented, on May 19.

Nepalese general practice is a fast growing specialty. Activities planned for May 19 included a two km procession with banners to promote the family doctor. We will do the procession in the main town area of Kathmandu. All members of GPAN (over 100 doctors) are expected to join this celebration. It is expected that the event will create a lot of media interest and members of the national medical association will also join GPs in the procession. The procession will take three hours and will be featured on national television.

In the afternoon, all family doctors will join together CME on the subject of the importance of the family doctor, one family doctor for each family, cost effectiveness of the family. These are the things that are to be displayed on banners in the procession.

A/Prof Dr Sita Ram Shrestha
Pratap Prasad


Cake cutting in The Netherlands: (l to r) Jettie Bont (dutch Association of GP'S); Margreet Verloop (locality manager); Dite Husselman (director Medrie); Johannes Pruijs, GP; Bas Noordzij, GP (manager), Hansmaarten Bolle (association of out of hours services)

On family Doctor Day the Dutch College, and the Dutch Association of GPs and the association of out of hours services will deliver a large cake to every out of hours service all over the country. General Practice is delivered 24/7, also during the weekend
that most people have a four days holiday! We would like to acknowledge the work of GPs and practice assistants in the out of ours service.

Arno Timmermans


Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP)

A press release was issued titled World Family Doctor Day celebrated around the world.

President of the RNZCGP, Dr Harry Pert said, ‘New Zealand’s general practitioners are some of the best in the world and make a huge difference to their communities in both urban and rural settings’.

RNZCGP president Dr Harry Pert.

‘Health care is changing and evolving all the time, which makes family medicine a challenging, but rewarding environment. Our general practices need to meet the constantly changing needs of their patients and the wider health sector. To this end, the College is revamping its training programme for general practitioners from next year to take into account emerging models of care and more closely meet the training needs of GPs working in a range of settings.’

Dr Pert said that he believed the changes would encourage more doctors to train as GPs and training will be better integrated across institutional and community settings, which will benefit patients. He also said ‘The changes will also provide an exciting career pathway for current and future GPs that will develop their skills, encourage them to remain in general practice, and enhance their job satisfaction throughout their careers.’

Dr Pert congratulated WONCA for celebrating the contribution of GPs to their communities on World Family Doctor Day.


I am pleased to inform you that Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) has planned events to commemorate this year World Family Doctor Day (WFDD).

the theme this year is "healthy living - the role of family doctor", while the sub theme is "smoking cessation among the doctors and in the community".

Activities lined up include a press conference on Family Doctor Day, awareness campaign, and lectures on healthy living and cessation of cigarette smoking to be delivered by WONCA Africa Regional President, Dr Sylvester T Osinowo and Dr A.Adedokun, Consultant Family Physician at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. The keynote address will be delivered by AGPMPN National President, Dr Anthony A Omolola.

These events will take place concurrently in the three major cities in Nigeria: Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.AGPMPN in conjunction with SOFPON and GMP faculty mark together this year WFDD.

Dr Anthony A Omolola


College of Family Medicine Pakistan (CFMP)

Please convey well wishes from College of Family Medicine Pakistan to all brotherly countries who are members of WONCA. They acknowledge the importance of celebrating 19th May as Family Doctors’ day.

The CFMP observed World Family Doctors Day with great fervour and enthusiasm with seminars, symposiums and awareness programs at various places. The biggest gathering of family doctors was held at Najmuddin Auditorium of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi with Honorable Sardar Yasin Malik, chairman of Hilton Pharma (Pvt) Ltd as well as ex-chairman Red Crescent Society (Int) and affiliated with many universities and NGOs in all over Pakistan. More than 250 Family Doctors attended this program with presentation by Prof S Waqar Kazmi on subject of anaemia in kidney diseases and presentation on hypertension by Prof Mansoor Ahmed and presentation by Prof Saleem Muqaddam on feeding problems in infants. Dr Aziz Khan Tank presented paper on Why World Family Doctors Day and Dr Rukhsana Ansari give the presentation on role of family doctors in health care system.

For public awareness exhibition was arranged for the awareness of the general masses and arrangement for diagnosing blood sugar, cholesterol and other necessary tests as well as awareness regarding hazards of smoking.

Presenters at the Pakistan event: (from l to r)
Top row: Dr Usman Ghani, Mr Sardar Yasin Malik (Chairman Hilton, Chief Guest), Dr Col Rashid Iqbal, Dr Arshad Malik, Dr Ross Masood Ahmed, Sardar Yasin Malik (Addressing the participants), Dr Aziz Khan Tank; Second row: Dr Amanat Mohsin, Dr Rukhsana Ansari, Prof S Waqar H. Kazmi; Lower row: Prof Mansoor Ahmed, Prof Saleem Muqaddam, Dr S Ali Salman.

Elsewhere in this newsletter the speeches of Dr Tank and the chief guest are reproduced.

Dr Aziz K Tank

World Family Doctor Day and World Hypertension Day was celebrated at seven Integrated Medical Service clinics of Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi on May 20, 2012. These clinics provide family practice services to patients at their door step. It was celebrated to reinforce the key role of family physicians in improving the health of the community. World Hypertension Day was also celebrated along with it.

Multiple activities were planned for the occasion. Anthropometric measurements were carried out by the nursing staff. Blood pressure was recorded and family physicians provided free consultations. The importance of lifestyle modification in prevention and management of diseases were emphasized. Patients were counseled individually on ways to adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity and smoking cessation. Group sessions on health lifestyle were conducted. A large turnout was seen at all the centers with numbers reaching close to 500. The patients appreciated the services provided by the family physicians and nursing staff and requested for more such events on a regular basis.

Waris Qidwai


Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP)

The Philippines designed a badge for World Family Doctor day in 2011 and it has been used in many countries in 2012. The badge/ button was designed by the neices of WONCA leader Prof Zorayda ‘Dada’ Leopando. This year it has been used (with kind permission) all over the world, appearing in campaigns in South America, Mongolia and Australia for example.

In the Philippines, this year has seen a Presidential Proclamation from Filipino President Benigno Aquino III to declare May 19 reserved for family doctors day, each year. The Philippine Academy of Family Physicians plans to celebrate the day as it did in 2011, with extensive nationwide activities.


Special events are being planned in several regions of Russia to celebrate the Family Doctors’ Day. These include:

Moscow, May 18, First State Medical University: Teleconference with 20 regions dedicated to some burning issues. Patients will be invited to speak in some places. Media will be invited to cover this event.

Kursk, April 24: local conference dedicated to the Family Doctor’s Day

Kirov Region, May 24, Department of Health Care: A special conference where research papers and a quiz will be offered to participants followed with special awards.

Saint Petersburg, May 18: special conference of the local branch of the All-Russia Association of General Practitioners/Family Doctors.

Dr Elena Cherniyenko


Serbian general medicine practitioners celebrate their day and send congratulations to their colleagues throughout the world.

Primarius Mirjana Mojković MD
President of the General Medicine Section of Serbian Medical Society


Taiwan Association of Family Medicine (TAFM)

A family doctor nearby, the illness subsides

This year, TAFM designed a new version of their 2011 poster to celebrate the special day for family doctors in the world. In this year’s version we wished to communicate not only ‘Family doctor care for all’ but ‘A family doctor nearby, the illness subsides’ to people in Chinese Taipei. They also designed a little banner for their website.

Taiwanese GPs holding the 2012 and 2011 posters (from l to r) Drs Huang, Chia-Tsuan; Chou, Teng-Ta; Wu, Jin-Shang; Dr Chiu, Tai-Yuan (TAFM president); Tsai, Shih-Tzu; He, Ching-You; Hsu, Chung-Ming; Lin, Ming-Nan; Liu, Wen-Jing; Li, Ju-Li (TAFM Secy Gen); Huang, Lee-Ching.

2012 poster from Chinese Taipei

In the past two months, we used every opportunity such as seminars, meetings etc to post this poster. We also sent it to our members, 376 CMTs and 83 hospitals with residency training programs of Family Medicine, and encourage them to post it up in their clinic or office.


American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) The AAFP issued a news release on the occasion of World Family Doctor day, which is reproduced below.

News release

The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) celebrates World Family Doctor Day around the globe on May 19. Long the preferred model of care outside the United States, family medicine is the cornerstone of an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. The American Academy of Family Physicians is a longstanding member of WONCA.

WONCA has an impact on the world of family medicine/general practice through its World Council and its seven Regional Councils. In addition to its governance structure, WONCA has working groups on the classification of problems encountered in general family practice, rural practice, quality assurance, informatics, education, communications and publications, research, health behavior change, tobacco cessation, women and family medicine, mental health, and respiratory diseases. Over the years, these groups have carried out groundbreaking studies and research, and have produced a variety of important publications.

Multinational employers and insurance companies are realizing more and more the importance of family physicians and their focus on a long-term patient-physician relationship, preventive care, chronic disease management and care coordination across sub-specialties.

In fact, The Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative was created in the United States in late 2006 by several large national employers, including IBM, to join forces with primary care physician groups and other large employers in order to (1) facilitate improvements in patient-physician relations and (2) create a more effective and efficient model of health care delivery.

One of the focuses of the PCPCC is the patient-centered medical home, which describes a style of care that integrates patients as active participants in their own health and well-being. Patients are cared for by a physician who leads the medical team that coordinates all aspects of preventive, acute and chronic needs of patients using the best available evidence and appropriate technology. These relationships offer patients comfort, convenience, and optimal health throughout their lifetimes. The concept of the PCMH grew out of a large-scale research study done by the AAFP in 2002 that showed the public wanted more continuous and comprehensive care in the context of their community.

The 105,900 AAFP members join with the 120 WONCA member organizations in 99 countries to celebrate World Family Doctor Day.

Other facts

Interesting facts included in the press release state that the AAFP represents 105,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty.


The WONCA Iberoamericana region decided to celebrate our World Day, May 19, by launching the "Anthem Of Family Medicine", written by Dr Ana Lucia Dominguez from Dominican Republic; it is interpreted by Dr Ana Lucia Dominguez y Dr Juana Gonzalez. The music is from the Professor Jorge Cuevas. (all from the Dominican Republic)

You can find a link on the region webpage www.cimf.org to listen the Anthem in Spanish. Look for the link that says “Para escucharlo, haga click aquí”

Liliana Arias-Castillo, M.D.
WONCA Iberoamericana-CIMF region president


Adelante, adelante médico familiar en tus manos está la familia y la sociedad mundial que espera de nosotros para poder triunfar.

Adelante, adelante médico familiar, nacemos en el seno de la familia, como necesidad de humanizar la familia espera de nosotros para la salud encontrar.

Adelante, adelante médico familiar, estamos con ustedes para prevenir enfermedad, pero también, junto a ustedes en la hora de la verdad.

Al igual naciente con timidez día a día se van extendiendo tus rayos luminosos para poder brillar a nivel mundial, adelante juntos podemos brillar a nivel mundial, adelante juntos podemos llegar, adelante juntos lo podemos lograr.

Te vimos nacer por tu barrio correr, estudiar y a la adolescencia llegar, y te seguimos orientando en esos momentos de cambio, luego te vimos casar, engendrar y al final de tu vida llegar; pero, siempre junto a ti para poder ayudar.

Adelante, adelante médico familiar, mente sana, cuerpo sano, sana será la nación si estos elementos existen con fuerte.

Adelante, adelante médico familiar, esforcémonos para poder triunfar, nuestros sueños alcanzar, luego de tanto soñar, encontrar el tesoro que anhelamos y que creíamos imposible de lograr, vamos a caminar y a la familia llegar.


Let´s go, let´s go family doctors, in our hands is the family and the world society that awaits us to triumph.

Let´s go, let´s go family doctors, we are born from the heart of the family, as a need to humanize the family that expects to find health from us.

Let´s go, let´s go family doctors we are with you to prevent illnesses, but also together with you at the time of truth.

Just like a ray of light, extending itself shyly day by day, to be able to shine across the world, let´s go let´s go together we can shine across the World; let´s go together we can get there, let´s go together we can accomplish it.

We witnessed your birth, and you running around the neighbourhood, studying and reaching adolescence, and we continue guiding you through those stages of change. Then we saw you get married, giving birth and reaching the end of your life; and we were always together by you to be able to help.

Let´s go, let´s go family doctors healthy mind, healthy body, healthy the nation will be if all these elements are present strongly.

Let´s go, let´s go family doctors, let´s make an effort to triumph, fulfil our dreams, after so much dreaming, to find the treasure we desire and we thought impossible to get, let´s walk and reach the family.