World Organization of Family Doctors

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.5.2 Community health workers delivering primary health care: opportunities and challenges
Statement: 

The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) would like to thank the Director General for his report on Primary Health Care towards Universal Health Coverage
WONCA represents 550000 family medicine doctors in more than 150 countries working at the frontline of primary health care. To the doctors we represent, and the people we care for, the outcomes of the Astana Declaration are of the outmost importance. We are thankful for your vision and support for UHC.
Family doctors are essential to implementing Health For All and the health-related SDGs. They are trained to work in interdisciplinary teams that include Community Health Workers and give comprehensive person-centered care across the lifecycle. Our specialty is cost-effective partly because family doctors can address the emerging needs of ageing populations and the increase of non-communicable diseases at the PHC level. They can also lead and guide other members of the PHC team with their diagnostic and management skills. We urge WHO to take the lead in advocating for the establishment of an academic department of Family Medicine in every medical school, in every country, in every region of the world, to build the cadre of professionals necessary to effectively implement the global goals.
Our Member Organizations were disappointed, however at the absence from the text of the Declaration for Primary Health Care of any mention of family doctors or of other members of the professional primary healthcare team. Political will to achieve Universal Health Coverage will need to be nurtured and advocated for. The advocacy is less likely to gain traction or success without WHO specifically identifying the members of the primary care teams necessary to deliver the services to ensure every person has access to appropriate, affordable, integrated, and comprehensive primary health care. The teams need to include doctors, nurses, oral health, assistants and technicians and Community Health Workers for true success