World Family Doctor Day 2024 - Theme Announcement

The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) has officially announced "Healthy Planet, Healthy People" as the theme for World Family Doctor Day, set to take place on Sunday, May 19, 2024. This year's theme highlights the intrinsic connection between the health of our planet and the well-being of our patients, emphasizing the critical role primary healthcare can play in promoting sustainable health practices.

World Family Doctor Day, celebrated annually on May 19th, is a key event in the WONCA calendar, dedicated to underscoring the importance and contributions of family doctors in healthcare systems around the world. This year, the focus is on the urgent need for action against climate change and its impacts on human health. Family doctors play a crucial role in linking community health to the health of our environment. As trusted members of their communities, they are uniquely positioned to underscore the importance of protecting our environment as a means to ensure the health and safety of future generations. The impact of climate change, manifest in rising temperatures, increased extreme weather events, and escalating challenges such as infectious diseases and food insecurity, directly affects people's health today.

Family doctors can make a difference by identifying how environmental changes influence health issues, adopting environmentally friendly practices in their clinics, and guiding patients on how to protect their health while also caring for the planet. Additionally, by uniting with others to advocate for essential changes in our way of living, they can help drive the collective action needed to safeguard human health and the environment.

WONCA's commitment to environmental leadership is further underscored by the work of its Working Party on Planetary Health. "I want WONCA to be recognized as a 'green' leader," states Assoc Professor Karen Flegg, WONCA President. "We have a very strong Working Party on Planetary Health. They are outward-looking, developing statements and, for example, leading our current initiative to secure a just and equitable transition to sustainable energy and safeguard health from the climate emergency. Also, the Working Party on Planetary Health responded to my call for internal strategies by developing sustainable conference guidelines, which we will now be able to use at all WONCA conferences."

The announcement of the theme follows an open letter signed by WONCA and other organizations representing over 3 million health professionals in September 2023, which called on world leaders to take urgent action to safeguard the health of global populations from the climate crisis, emphasizing the need to halt new fossil fuel projects and invest in renewable energy.

The theme "Healthy Planet, Healthy People" is a call to action for family doctors, healthcare professionals, and communities worldwide to recognize and respond to the health challenges posed by climate change. WONCA invites its members and the wider healthcare community to rally behind this theme. We are planning a significant campaign in the lead-up to May 19, 2024, across both social media and traditional media channels, to spread the word and encourage public engagement with the initiative. We aim to highlight the personal experiences of our family doctors who have observed the health impacts of climate change firsthand.

Contact Diarmuid Hayes, WONCA Communications Officer, for more.
[email protected]