WONCA President's message on World Family Doctor Day


The 19th of May is World Family Doctor Day. This is a day to highlight and celebrate the role and contributions of family doctors around the world.

Since its establishment by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010, World Family Doctor Day has gained momentum each year and provides a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the central role of family doctors in the delivery of personal, comprehensive and continuing health care for all people in every country. It is also a chance to celebrate the progress being made in recognizing the important role of family medicine in strengthening primary health care each of our countries, and the special contributions that are made by wonderful individual family doctors all around the world.

Each year many of our colleagues across the globe celebrate the day by organising special events and activities.

This year we have invited our member organizations, the colleges and academies and societies of family medicine and general practice, in each country to highlight the important role of family medicine in supporting smoking cessation.

Tobacco smoking causes serious damage to the health of many of our patients, and part of our role as family doctors is to encourage our patients who smoke to stop smoking and to provide resources and support to assist them with this decision.

As family doctors we also have a role working as advocates in our communities to support measures to reduce the health damage caused by tobacco, to support the education of young people about the dangers of smoking, and to insist that our governments ban promotion by tobacco companies. Each of us has a respected voice in our local community and a responsibility to speak out on key public health initiatives. And our member organisations have a responsibility to support the development of local guidelines supporting tobacco cessation and to advocate with governments on the adoption of effective, evidence-based tobacco control measures.

Our colleagues in the American Academy of Family Physicians have kindly allowed us all to share their excellent smoking cessation resource materials and these are available through the WONCA global family doctor website.

Our partner global organization, the International Primary Care Respiratory Group has also produced a number of great resources for family doctors, including a very useful desktop resource called “Helping patients quit smoking: brief interventions for healthcare professionals”. Again this is available through the WONCA global family doctor website.

I look forward to hearing about the events that are held across the world on this year’s World Family Doctor Day. Already colleagues in Portugal, in the nations of the Caribbean and across the Middle East have advised me of the tobacco cessation activities they have planned for May 19.

On behalf of the World Organization of Family Doctors, I wish every family physician, every general practitioner, every primary care doctor, in every country of the world, a wonderful World Family Doctor Day. Through your daily work you make an extraordinary contribution to your nation.

Thank you for the great work you do, everyday, supporting the health and well-being of your individual patients and your community.

Michael Kidd
World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)

see reports to date of proposed activities