WONCA President delivers National Professor Nurul Islam Memorial Lecture

At the recent South Asia region conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Prof Michael Kidd, WONCA President, delivered the second annual National Professor Nurul Islam Memorial Lecture. He commenced the lecture:

It is an honour and a privilege to be invited to deliver this second annual National Professor Nurul Islam Memorial Lecture, held in tribute to one of the great leaders of our profession.

In this lecture I will highlight the life’s work of National Professor Nurul Islam (pictured), especially his commitment to human rights, health education and tobacco control as a physician, teacher and research scientist. I plan to draw parallels from the life and work of Professor Islam with the work we are doing as family doctors today in the South Asia Region and around the world, and provide some examples of WONCA’s global activity."

Professor Kidd then paid homage to the life work of National Professor Nurul Islam having titled the memorial lecture “A friend to those in need”. He noted that was clear that Professor Islam, with his commitment to human rights and health education was devoted to ensuring that health care was available to all people, especially the most vulnerable, and that he spent his entire life, including his golden years when many others would have retired, working towards this goal.

Professor Kidd went on to talk of WONCA and its 43 year history and what we, as WONCA need to work on now..

"We need to work to ensure that every family doctor, every GP, every primary care doctor, joins us in our commitment to deliver high quality primary care to our patients and communities.

We also expect our members to do their part and share our commitment to education and training and a commitment to quality care. And while we recognize that there are excellent family doctors in the community who may not have received formal postgraduate training in family medicine, and we welcome these doctors as members of WONCA, we believe that these doctors need to share our commitment to continuing professional development and continuing medical education. We also believe that all new medical graduates should receive formal postgraduate training before being eligible to practice as family doctors in the community. Every person, every family in every community deserves to receive high quality medical care from a well-trained and qualified family doctor. And this is why WONCA was established.

We also need to expand our commitment to the education and training of family doctors and quality care and primary care research to the nations of the world where WONCA does not yet have a presence, which includes some nations here is South Asia, especially Bhutan and the Maldives. This expansion of WONCA is one of my personal goals as president and it was wonderful last year to welcome family doctors from Bhutan to the WONCA family.

Why do we do all this? Because family medicine is important.

Because the evidence is clear that health systems based on strong primary care, which includes strong family medicine, are the most efficient, equitable and cost-effective.

Because strong primary care is the best way to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.

Because we believe every family should have a family doctor who the members of each family can trust for their medical care and advice.
Because family doctors and the members of our primary care teams are part of the social fabric of our societies and we work together to keep the fabric of health care together.

Much more was said before Professor Kidd conluded with a favorite quote of Professor Islam, taken from the writings of Charles Dickens, about what it means to be a doctor:
“They have to have
a heart
that never hardens,
a temper
that never loosens
and a touch
that never hurts.”

  See complete lecture on president's blog