Working Party on Research annual report

North America

Due to the small number of potential attendees, we were not able to have formal meetings of the WONCA Working Party on Research and the International Federation of Primary Care Research Networks (IFPCRN). It became evident that there are too many competing demands for attendees at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) meeting and insufficient dedicated time to global primary care research. To address this issue, there was a brief morning meeting which included John Beasley, Chris van Weel, Walter Rosser, Tim Olde Hartman and Martin Dawes, who is program chair for NAPCRG.

This led to a very productive exchange and Tim Olde Hartman agreed to work with Martin Dawes to set aside some time for global research and issues at the 2012 NAPCRG meeting, which will be held from December 8-12, in New Orleans, USA. It is our intent to couple research presentations with meetings of the MINERVA project; possibly the Brisbane Initiative; and a combined meeting of the IFPCRN and the WONCA Working Party on Research.

We did acknowledge the significant progress made at the WONCA Asia Pacific Cebu 2011 and WONCA South Asia Kathmandu 2010 meetings and hope that 2012 will be as productive. It is our intent that much of the organization and planning for this meeting will be done by rising young physicians like Dr Tim Olde Hartman. We will make special effort, with Professor Rosser’s help, to identify family physicians that are in fellowship and PhD programs to participate with Dr Hartman.

Profs John Beasley and Donna Manca

WONCA East Mediterranean Region

The WONCA East Mediterranean Region (EMR) Primary Care Research Network was launched at the WONCA EMR conference, in Dubai, in December 2011. This first WONCA EMR conference was widely attended by participants from the around the world and across the region.

The launch of the WONCA EMR Primary Care Research Network was based on the initiative of Professor Nabil Y Al Kurashi, WONCA EMR President, and Professor Faisal Al Nasir, president of the Family and Community Medicine Council, Arab Board for Health Specialties.

Professor Taghreed Farahat, from Egypt, and Professor Waris Qidwai, from Pakistan, have been requested to lead this network. Initially, 41 conference participants have signed as members. A yahoo group has been initiated and family physicians from WONCA EMR region are requested to join.

The sole aim of this newly formed network is to promote primary care research in the region and to build capacity to achieve this objective.

Two projects have been initiated, on Information and Communication Technology and Access to Patient-Care. The former, is led by Professor Taghreed Farahat and the latter by Professor Waris Qidwai. It will be an important part of the mission to increase collaboration between primary care research networks, both within the region, as well as globally.

Professor Waris Qidwai, chair of the WONCA Working Party on Research delivered a keynote address on Research strategies required to reduce disease burden from diabetes mellitus and hypertension in the developing world.

This region already has highly committed and well trained human resources in primary care research. It is expected that over the coming months and years, this network will become more active and will ensure that primary care research is at the forefront in the region.

Prof Waris Qidwai


At the second international meeting of Hypertension and Diabetes in Primary Care, held at Istanbul, in April 2011, Dr Waris Qidwai delivered a talk at the invitation of Primary Care Diabetes Europe and the European Primary Care Cardiovascular Society. The topic was Controlling diabetes and hypertension: research strategies for developing countries.

Dr Waris Qidwai


Dr Susan Tan Go, Research Committee chair of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians

Physicians, Davao City Chapter, will present a poster at the WONCA Asia Pacific Region conference 2012 to be held in May, in Jeju, South Korea. Title of the presentation is The present status and future role of family doctors: a perspective from international federation of primary care research networks.

The Hong Kong College of Family Physicians and the University of Family Medicine academics have made an effort to promote research among family doctors. A research project will be introduced in 2013, as an option to a clinical audit, as one of the three segments of the College of Family Medicine training exit examination. Several research training workshops were organised for family doctors, in Hong Kong, in 2011.

The Primary Care Network Research on the Epidemiology and Natural History of Depressive Disorder Presenting to Primary Care in Hong Kong, started in 2010 and will continue until the end of 2012. This is a collaborative project between the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, that includes over 50 primary care practices and 10,000 patients. The baseline data collection has completed and longitudinal follow-up continues for one year. The project has proven the feasibility of engaging a large number of primary care practices to collect data regularly over one year. We hope the results will provide answers to the question on whether depressive disorders missed by primary care doctors really matter.

Dr Susan Tan Go and Dr Cindy Lam

South Asia Region

The Pakistan Primary Care Research Network (PPCRN) remained active during the year 2011.

A research project Barriers to antihypertensive therapy has been initiated, data collection of which has begun in two provinces. Data collection from the rest of the sites (4-5 sites) will commence this year. Collection at these sites will be done with the collaboration of Pakistan Hypertension League which has members throughout the country.

Dr Seema Bhanji (Chair, PPCRN) was invited to conduct a research workshop (along with a Pakistan and an Indian colleague) at the Spice Route Movement session of the WONCA South Asia Region conference held in Mumbai, in December 2011. She spoke on How to initiate a research project to the young and future family physicians of the South Asia region. She talked about how to get ideas and then translate them into researchable questions. She elaborated on the methodology of the project; selecting the study design, the population, study site and sampling techniques. She introduced the concept of validity and reliability of the data and its importance and briefly touched upon data entry and analysis. She emphasized the ethical considerations that must be looked into before designing the project. She also discussed the challenges faced by family physicians in conducting research and appreciated the efforts of the Spice Route Movement organisers in providing training for research.

Dr Bhaji was made research liaison for the Spice Route Movement for young and future family physicians.

Dr Seema Bhanji
Chair, Pakistan Primary Care Research Network

Work plan for 2012-13:

Plans for the WONCA working party on research for the coming year include:

  1. Hold capacity building workshops on research methodology workshops at regional level through local primary care research networks and active members of WONCA Working Party on Research.
  2. Hold meetings at regional WONCA conferences to discuss and plan work plans to promote mandate of WONCA Working Party on Research at regional level.
  3. Prepare to hold meeting of WONCA Working Party on Research at the WONCA World conference at Prague, in 2013.