WONCA EMR meets WHO EMRO, in Cairo, in September

Photo: WHO EMRO and WONCA EMR delegates, (from right to left) ; Dr Tghreed Farhat, WONCA EMR board member, Dr Oraib Alsmadi WONCA EMR treasurer, Dr Mohammed Tarawneh, WONCA EMR president, HE DR Mahmoud FIKRI; WHO EMRO RD, Dr Jaouad Mahjour; Director of program management, Dr Zafar Mirza; Director of health system development, and Dr Hassan Salah; Technical officer primary and community health care

WONCA's East Mediterranean region (EMR) delegate conducted a meeting with WHO EMRO Regional Director and his team on Sunday, 10 September 2017, in Cairo, Egypt.


From WHO: Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO EMRO Regional Director; Dr Jaouad Mahjour, Director of program management; Dr Zafar Mirza, Director of health system development; Dr Hassan Salah, Technical officer primary and community health care.

From WONCA: Dr Mohammed Tarawneh, WONCA EMR president; Dr Oraib Alsmadi, WONCA EMR treasurer; Dr Tagreed Farhat, WONCA EMR board member.

The meeting began with a welcome from the WHO EMRO Regional Director to the WONCA delegate and introductions. Dr Tarawneh conveyed Prof Amanda Howe's greetings and expressed gratitude for the continuous WHO support to the region and for the close collaboration between both partners, WHO EMRO and WONCA EMR,

The agenda of the meeting:

• WHO EMRO in collaboration with WONCA to co-edit the first book on family practice in the region "Family Practice in the Eastern Mediterranean region: Universal Health Coverage and quality Primary Care", which will be launched in October 2018.
• Conduct national workshops to strengthen family medicine departments in 3-5 countries.
• To invite RD for WONCA EMR conference in 2018
• Support WONCA EMR with advocating and focusing on the family medicine specialty as clear path to reach Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
• Support WONCA EMR in conducting workshops for decision makers in some EMR countries to support family medicine programs, Group 2 (Lybia, Morocco, Tunisia, Iran and Palestine), and Group 3 (Afghanistan, Djibouti, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen)
• Expand online training for GPs to include all WONCA EMR countries,
• The ICPC classification and its important for primary care data collection.

Areas of collaboration between both parties were discussed. Dr Hassan Salah mentioned that the first book to be edited on family medicine in the region was developed by both organizations and it will be launched in the 21st WONCA World conference in 2018, in South Korea. Prof Michael Kidd and Dr Hassan Salah are the lead editors, Prof Amanda Howe (WONCA president) and Dr Mahmoud Fikri (WHO Regional Director) will write the book's foreward. It is about 35 chapters, half of these chapters will be country focus chapters on developing family medicine / practice.

WONCA/ EMR Delegates emphasized the family medicine specialty as a gate keeper into health systems and a backbone of PHC to achieve Universal Health Care. The challenges that face production and the shortages of family physicians in the EMRO countries, such as insufficient understanding at the level of decision makers in the EMRO countries about the importance of the specialty and how it can be one of keys to achieve Universal Health Care in the EMRO countries.

The RD mentioned that in the 63rd regional committee a resolution was made to support the family medicine specialty by scaling up family practice: progressing towards Universal Health Care, and he will continue to support WONCA EMR in this topic on every occasion when he meet Ministries of health in EMRO countries.

Dr Fikri emphasized the importance of approaching Academia to include family medicine residency program in their programs. The residency programs should be recognized as branch of specialization in the 22 countries and in some countries they have local board under umbrella of academia and others don’t, and if there are no academic degrees the specialty will not move forward. The Arab Board have the division but is not yet mature, furthermore he focused on the importance of establishment of departments of FM in the universities that have medical schools in the EMRO countries.

The participants agreed about the importance of collaborative work among WHO & WONCA to reorient towards Universal Health Care, and bring family medicine as a vehicle, conducting national workshops will help countries to develop national action plans to scale up family practice working in two parallel paths - the fast track and the long term plans taking into consideration, approaching universities and higher education ministries.

Agreements on both sides:
- Participation in the experts consultation on family practice in EMR meeting, 12-13 December (sharing resolution, see guidelines, to plan better for future)
 - Publishing “Family Practice in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: Universal Health Coverage and Quality Primary Care”
 - RD preliminary approval to his attendance at WONCA EMR meeting, March 2018
 - WONCA World to meet with Dr Tedros Adhanom to strengthen the global collaboration (in January or May 2018)
 - Collaboration with WONCA EMR to conduct national workshops to strengthen the capacity of family medicine departments.
 - WONCA EMR participation in ToT workshops on WHO online training of general practitioners in Family Medicine.
 - ICPC information to be shared with the information department in WHO EMRO
 - The coming Expert consultation on MNS in PHC EMRO 19-20 September,

Mohammed Tarawneh
WONCA EMR president