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WONCA 2023 [Conference Recap]

WONCA event recap

The World Organisation of Family Doctors hosted its international conference in Sydney which coincided with its 50th anniversary and the handover of its Presidency to our own Aussie Associate Professor Karen Flegg.

A large number of AFMW Members attended and some presented, myself included.

Dr Marjorie Cross (NSW & ACT & Regional)

Dr Melanie Dorrington ( ACT)

A/Professor Louise Stone (ACT)

Dr Kate Wylie (SA)

A/Professor Margaret Kay AM ( QLD)

We were inspired by the gathering of more than 4300 family doctors from around the globe. The keynotes were outstanding and what set the benchmark was the opening address by outgoing president Dr Anna Stavdal.


Opening Address

Here’s a summary of the incredible Opening Address.

Summary: Health care in uncertain times

As GPs, our mandate is to decipher the totality of the patients’ needs -which rests on the generalist.

Change forces such as geopolitical forces, climate change, societal shifts, medical trends such as specialisation & fragmentation of health care, commercialisation, consumerism and digitalisation/AI all impact us and our practices directly.

Some key points:

  • Length of GP relationship is related to better health – the longer the relationship the better the outcome for the individual & the nation because of lower use of services
    in other words, GPs contribute to national stability.
  • Global shifts are occuring – The World Values Survey (WVS) reveals:
    • a shift from traditional cultures dominating values to self expression having an impact on values also referred to as Emancipated Moral Progression
    • these shifts in values are linked to cultural development & impact the entire country this means traditional cultures are shrinking as an influence.
  • The trend toward Emancipated Moral Progression – Emancipation aids stability – populations become more educated, they use contraception, have fewer kids, the descendants become more expressive educated & empowered.
  • Freedom of choice & emancipatory values transcend geographical & cultural barriers – Its effects are the same east & west of the globe.
  • GPs contribute to national and global stability – As generalist health care providers, GPs play an important role in raising the health literacy of our patients and with each encounter, we help create a healthier person one by one, thereby a healthier nation which has global implications.



Below are some snapshots of the sessions we hosted.

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