The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 28th January 2019, during the annual Executive Board meeting of WHO in Geneva, in which all WHO Member States participate.
Director General of WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Dr Donald Li, WONCA World President signed the MOU to consolidate the relationship between the two organisations. The MOU reflects the key role played by family doctors and GPs in achieving the global goal of Universal Health Coverage, through comprehensive, patient-centred, professional primary care.
It clearly acknowledges the importance of the primary care team in the delivery of appropriate, affordable care to the world’s population. The MOU aims to strengthen and improve health services and family medicine programmes, with particular attention to medical professional training, undergraduate and postgraduate training programmes, continuing professional development and programmes to encourage cross-disciplinary working.
The goal to achieve Universal Health Coverage is a key element of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and of WHO’s global Health For All policy. With 500,000+ members across the globe, WONCA clearly has a key role to play in both mobilising and delivering effective, accessible, primary health care. WHO is keen to engage with professional organisations, which can help to deliver the global goal: the MOU will facilitate stronger engagement between the organisations, both at policy level and within each of the regions and countries of operation.
Benefiting from the expertise within its membership, WONCA supports Member Organisations and their national health systems to develop and further improve primary care delivery. They do this through a variety of ways: technical support for undergraduate and postgraduate training programmes; establishment of family medicine as a distinct speciality in medical school programmes and in health systems; accreditation of postgraduate family medicine programmes; and accreditation of primary care practices in countries which do not yet have their own regulations and standards.
Through collaboration with a range of professional organisations WONCA aims to promote the use of qualified, multidisciplinary, primary care teams to deliver health care across the globe.
Following the signing of the MOU, WONCA President Dr Donald Li, a practicing family physician from Hong Kong, said ‘This MOU builds on our long relationship with WHO and reflects our joint commitment to reach every corner of the globe, to achieve effective accessible primary care for every single person. We look forward to working closely with WHO at central level, through regional offices and in individual countries to achieve Universal Health Coverage’.