Such an MOU is extremely rare, and WONCA is honoured to be granted it by WHO. The MOU is the culmination of a great deal of work behind the scenes by many people, but most especially through the endeavours of Donald Li and his excellent contacts at WHO Headquarters.
The MOU was signed by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO, Director General, and Dr Donald Li, WONCA’s President. Donald Li, in a short speech, said:
Director General Dr Tedros and gathered colleagues, WONCA has had a close relationship with WHO for many years. This MOU between us is a consolidation of that commitment and a pledge for the future.
The consequences of the Astana Declaration and the achievement of SDG 3 are of utmost importance to our members, in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage for every person everywhere.
WONCA has 550,000 members in 150 countries and territories. We are providing professional primary care to millions of people globally. We recognise that effective, timely primary care delivery is not only about the doctors - we value working in qualified and competent multidisciplinary primary care teams to reach ever greater numbers and population groups.
This MOU provides a springboard to strengthen our collaboration with WHO – at central level here in Geneva, through technical and policy collaboration – but also at regional level and at country level.
Our Member Organizations will relish working with WHO country and regional colleagues on a wide range of issues in which family doctors and GPs have specialist expertise.
This includes, of course, planning, delivering, accrediting and monitoring primary care programmes.
It includes the establishment of - and curriculum development for - family medicine programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
But our expertise also includes system development to support effective primary care, Health Security, Health Emergencies, Mental Health, Measurement and Classification of primary care, Environment, Workers Health and Disaster Risk Reduction, among others.
We welcome this MOU and the joint commitment it signifies. We look forward to working with our WHO colleagues to reach every corner of the globe, to achieve effective, accessible primary care for every single person.
I’m sure you will all be delighted with this landmark development in our ongoing relationship with WHO. Please do publicise this to your members as it is important for them to recognise the work that WONCA undertakes with WHO - and others - to make sure that the voice of family medicine is heard as loudly and as effectively as possible.
With best wishes
Dr Garth Manning
Chief Executive Officer