WONCA East Mediterranean meets Tunisian family doctors

Photo: meeting particpants

WONCA EMR executives, Dr Mohammed Tarawneh (WONCA EMR president) and Dr Oraib Alsmadi (WONCA EMR treasurer) conducted a visit to Tunisia from 4th-7th September. Last June, Professor Amanda Howe (WONCA president-elect) linked Dr Tarawneh with Dr Mundher Ltaief, from Tunis (WHO), and Dr Mundher, in turn has introduced Wonca EMR executives to several colleagues from Tunisia.

A meeting was held on Sep 6 with five Tunisian family medicine societies (located in Tunis city, Sousse, Monastir, Sfax , Mahdia , and the Tunisian GP society from Tunis city), and four academic medical schools belonging to the following universities - Tunis city, Sousse, Monastir, and Sfax.
The meeting agenda included informative speeches (presentations) of ten Tunisian colleagues introducing his/her organization.

Dr Tarawneh shared with colleagues an informative presentation followed by discussion. The moderator was Dr Zied Ben Lamine , president of Tunis FM society in the city of Tunis. Dr Oraib Alsmadi also shared in the presentation and discussion.

The universities do not have family medicine residency programs, however starting from 2015 in Sosa University they will have the first graduates of a two year Master degree family medicine.

As regard the societies of family medicine, they only have the name of family medicine with no content of family medicine specialty and no Bylaws - the societies considering any doctor as a family doctor with no specific certificates.

Long discussions ensued about the situation and how improvement could take place. As WONCA we advised them to have one unified national society as a first step and then submit an application to join WONCA as member Organization.

In addition WONCA offers a technical support to advocate for Academic / family medicine departments and programs. We encouraged the academia / departments of family medicine to join WONCA as academic members.

After this meeting the Tunisian family medicine societies ,Tunisian GP society, and academic medical school conducted a meeting where all Tunisian organizations representatives are present, and they agreed to work to overcome the main challenges and have a plan within six months - this was the first time for them to have such meeting and organize their work.

Mohammed Tarawneh
WONCA EMR president