Tag Archives: WONCA

AHoweAmanda Howe is Professor of Primary Care at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and President-Elect of the World Organization of Family Doctors

 

I am heading for the explicitly international perspective of the ‘Clinical Academic Careers’ meeting in Dublin tomorrow, which is part of this year’s SAPC conference. I'll be commenting in my capacity as President-Elect of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA). Let’s leave aside my sense of irony and grief that I shall be doing this as a little Englander whose country thinks it can manage alone – and will probably have to....I am writing this as a citizen of the world, where the professional networks of doctors, researchers, and scientists can span borders and bring fruitful ideas to deliver better care for our peoples. ...continue reading

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declanfoxDeclan Fox is a Family Physician in Tignish, PEI

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia, was the setting for this year's WONCA rural practice conference. This is an amazing small city, the so-called 'Pearl of the Adriatic' and a tourist attraction since the late 1800s.

We are two nurses and a physician from rural PEI who took on the job of resurrecting an old medical practice, starting on a very part-time basis in the fall of 2013 and going full-time a year later. The “why” of it is far too long a story for this blog but I have blogged about it before.

We were trying to find some good multi-disciplinary CME in Canada for us three to attend last year. We failed, of course. And then one of us suggested the 13th WONCA world rural health conference as a place where we would likely meet like-minded professionals who were concerned about the systems aspect of rural health care as well as the individual encounters. ...continue reading

Tkachenko_VictoriaVictoria Tkachenko, MD, PhD is Associate Professor in the Family Medicine Department at P.L. Shupyk National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, Kiev, Ukraine

 

The history of General Practice/Family Medicine in Ukraine began in 1988 - in that year a pilot project of implementing health system based on family medicine was started in the Lviv region. This led, inevitably, to the creation a new specialty – “general practice – family medicine” for doctors and nurses, with new departments and new approaches to training.

One of the key figures in this development was Professor E. Zaremba from Lviv National Medical University. With the success of this project, family medicine spread throughout Ukraine creating a need for teachers and, as a result, educational departments of family medicine began to appear in medical universities from 1996. These departments also undertook research, some of which was in primary care. One of first such departments was organized in 1996 by Prof. G. Lysenko, my teacher, at the P.L. Shupyk National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, through reorganization of the Internal Diseases Department. ...continue reading

Chris van WeelChris van Weel is Emeritus Professor of Family Medicine/General Practice
at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands; Professor of Primary Health Care Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia; and Past President of WONCA

 

On a global scale, research in family medicine and primary health care appears to develop slowly and hesitantly, certainly in light of its contribution to education. This difficult state of affairs is mirrored in substantial international differences in research facilities: few countries can boast the visionary funding policies of Canada or Australia, or the inclusive research programming of universities in the Netherlands and the UK. The research grass often looks greener on the other side of a border, and this tends to trigger contemplation of what might have been – along with lamentations of deprived opportunities.

Yet, there IS a parallel primary health care research reality to enjoy. ...continue reading

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Raquel_BragaRaquel Braga is a family doctor at Lagoa Family Health Unit, Matosinhos Local Health Unit, Portugal.

 

A massive 3761 participants from all over the world attended the 19th WONCA Europe Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, from July 2nd to 5th 2014, including 1203 young family doctors/GPs and 120 undergraduate students. The conference offered an interesting and stimulating programme, searching answers for pertinent questions that involve the activity of family doctors/general practitioners from different countries and contexts, looking to solve the daily problems of the present, and thinking about the future of this specialty.

Delegates could participate in five brilliant keynote lectures, 202 sessions, 100 workshops and 445 oral presentations as well as peruse 1041 posters.

I’m really proud to say that, although Portugal is overcoming a severe economic crisis, the event was magnificent and very well organized. ...continue reading

Rich-Roberts preferredRichard Roberts is Professor and past Head of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is immediate past president of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) 2013-2016. He is a family physician and an attorney.

During my term as President of WONCA, I toured hundreds of hospitals and clinics in more than 70 countries. I never expected to be a patient in one.

In June 2012, I was excited to be attending another national conference of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Doctors (semFYC). I looked forward to reconnecting with good friends and mingling with the several thousand family doctors in attendance . My three flights from Wisconsin, USA to Bilbao, Spain were uneventful. The real excitement began as I was settling in to my hotel room.

About 7 pm, I had the sudden onset of several fleeting episodes of lightheadedness. There were no other symptoms and I felt well between episodes. With a regular rhythm and heart rate in the 60s, I concluded that I had jet lag and dehydration. I pushed fluids and rested the remainder of the first evening.

Although I felt well the next day, I was determined not to be the stereotypical physician trying to be his own doctor. I sought the advice of the semFYC President. Within moments, I was ushered to a nearby health center where my exam and electrocardiogram were normal.

The following day, I had several more episodes while touring another health center. A quick electrocardiogram revealed atrial fibrillation with a controlled ventricular response of 92 beats per minute. My rhythm converted spontaneously to sinus in a few minutes. Even so, my hosts insisted on driving me to a major teaching hospital. Their faces betrayed a mix of sincere concern and worry that an esteemed guest would die on their watch.

My memories of my experience in the Bilbao hospital remain vivid. The 4 hours I spent there seemed an eternity, and yet passed by in a flash. I remember the 40 minute registration process, for someone with an acute cardiac condition! Bureaucracies are the same everywhere. The bright ceiling lights all seemed positioned strategically to make it impossible to keep one’s eyes open while supine. These minor annoyances were much less memorable than the people who looked after me.

Mostly I remember the nurses. The emergency physician breezed by me several times, but it was the nurses who made certain that I knew that someone cared, that I was in good hands. Perhaps that is why I found myself humming the Leonard Cohen song “Sisters of Mercy.” I did so quietly, not wanting to add to the suffering of those around me.

My exam, blood tests, chest x-ray, and electrocardiogram were all normal. The hours of waiting enabled me to call my wife, my family doctor, and a cardiologist back home to inform and to seek advice. Even before I left the hospital, they made arrangements for a more extensive evaluation on my return home.

I later reflected on the miracle of modern telecommunications and on the privilege of being a physician. Mobile telephony instantly connected me across the world to those at home, where I really wanted to be. My colleagues at home made certain that my eventual treatment was swift and skillful. The paroxysmal atrial fibrillation resolved after catheter ablation. Yet, it did not feel right that the system moved faster for me than I was able to make it move for my own patients.

Writing this blog prompted me to look back on the lessons learned and on the priorities I reset for myself as I went through the first major health episode of my life. As a physician, I understood well my condition and the murky state of the science that guided therapy. I was annoyed at the interruption in my busy life and anxious about the risks and possible failure of treatment. As a patient, I assumed and received clinical competence and technical prowess. Better communication and empathy were the two qualities that were sometimes lacking.

As a result of this experience, I resolved to work harder to spend more time with my family and to listen longer, and better, to my patients. A candid self-assessment confirms that I remain a work in progress.

 

* This blog is part of a series that CMAJBlogs is publishing in the lead up to the International Conference on Physician Health #ICPH2014 to be hosted by the British Medical Association September 15-17 in London, UK