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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 477-478  

Wonca rural South Asia and WONCA SAR conference: All about empowering rural health care

Department of Family Medicine, Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication11-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pratyush Kumar
Department of Family Medicine, Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi - 110 060
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_77_16

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How to cite this article:
Kumar P. Wonca rural South Asia and WONCA SAR conference: All about empowering rural health care. J Family Med Prim Care 2018;7:477-8

How to cite this URL:
Kumar P. Wonca rural South Asia and WONCA SAR conference: All about empowering rural health care. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Sep 27];7:477-8. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2018/7/2/477/236435

Dear Editor,

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you can alter the difficulties, or you can alter yourself to meet the difficulties.

Wonca Rural South Asia (WoRSA)[1] is the rural health group with the aim to achieve positive health for all rural people. This group was officially launched during WONCA SAR 2016 conference at Colombo, Sri Lanka. Launch was graced by Dr. Michael Kidd (President WONCA), Dr. Garth Manning (CEO WONCA), Dr. Pratyush Kumar (Chair WoRSA), Dr. Raman Kumar, Dr. Ramnik Parekh, Dr. Preethi Wijegoonewardene, Dr. Antionnete Perera, Dr. Shyamalee, Dr. Shehla Naseem, and Dr. Bhawna Matta [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]. Dr. Amanda Howe, Dr. Pratap Prasad, and Dr. Kanu Bala also praised and supported this initiative. To fulfill our goals of positive health for all rural citizens, organized and coordinated efforts are needed. Immediate and long-term objectives have been set.
Figure 1: Young and vibrant Wonca Rural South Asia

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Figure 2: Launch of Wonca Rural South Asia

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Figure 3: Launch of Wonca Rural South Asia graced by many dignitaries

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Figure 4: Logo of Wonca Rural South Asia

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Immediate objectives are as follows:

  1. Engage with young doctors across South Asia region
  2. Create a working group of representatives from each countries having passion for rural health
  3. Collaborate with local organizations
  4. Strategy for community participation
  5. Rural networking of primary care physicians.

Long-term objectives are as follows:

  1. Engage with political stakeholders and ensure political commitments
  2. Develop an online database of rural doctors
  3. Create an online portal on rural health
  4. Structured patient-oriented database of frequently asked question on disease and prevention
  5. Develop consensus guidelines and model on healthcare.

WONCA-SAR conference [2] 2016 with the theme of “Reaching across the shores to strengthen primary care” truly fulfilled its goal and enriched the attending delegates with better understanding of health status and delivery mechanisms at primary care level. Over 650 delegates' attendance, many workshops, plenaries, guest lectures, and poster and oral presentations made it worth attending this conference. It was an academic bonanza and sheer delight for all the delegates. Advocacy and academics were given importance, with multiple parallel sessions; delegates had the option to choose what suits them best. It is the teamwork of college of general practitioners, Sri Lanka, which deserves all the credits and applause for organizing and making it a success.

There were discussions on status of health at primary care level in various South Asian countries. It was observed that most of these countries have majority of population being young which is a good sign as they are the most productive age group and around 70% of population resides in rural areas. There is a need to prioritize resources and health-care planning appropriately so that rural health care gets its due importance. To achieve universal health coverage and meet sustainable development goals, rural health needs to be strengthened.

Since with better health-care, life expectancy has increased so is our geriatric population. There is need to understand their health-care needs which may be different from that of younger population. Reproductive and child health has been concern and need our attention as rural primary care physicians. Still, many pregnant mothers do not get even a single antenatal checkup and rate of institutional delivery in rural areas is far less than desired. Thus, we need to incorporate such demands in our health-care models to address these challenges. During the conference, various speakers discussed these issues in detail.

Rural health care was also one of the main focuses of this conference which was highlighted during plenary, guest lectures, and symposium. Apart from the launch of WoRSA, there was a symposium on rural health care. Current challenges, rural health determinants, and models to strengthen it were discussed. Focus of symposium on rural health was to understand the rural health scenario in South Asia region, to discuss the successful model of rural health in host country Sri Lanka, and to get aware about the rural health groups and its objectives. During this 1 h session, valid points were raised and few important questions answered on rural health. The aim through this symposium was to be crisp and clear regarding the message being sent across and hopefully we meet the expectations as our message was delivered to the many attending delegates.

It also motivated many young doctors to come forward with many new ideas and willingness to work for rural health. There are so many challenges and hurdles which keep away many young doctors from opting for rural health-care jobs, its high time those genuine concerns are addressed with utmost sincerity by all the health-care stakeholders.

Looking at the positive response toward rural health group WoRSA and buzz among young doctors, it seems that future of rural health is bright. There is need to channelize this positive energy towards providing affordable appropriate and quality health care.

WoRSA aims to engage with family doctors and promote research, develop practice guidelines, and advocate rural health on various platforms. There is need of collective effort which can be achieved through professional networking in bringing doctors to the forefront of policy- and decision-making.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

Author is the chair of Wonca Rural South Asia.

  References Top

Kumar P. Global Family Doctor – Wonca Online; 2016. Available from: http://www.globalfamilydoctor.com/News/RuralRound-upWONCASouthAsiagrouplaunch.aspx. [Last accessed on 2016 Mar 03].  Back to cited text no. 1
Wonca SAR 2016; 11-14 February, 2016. Colombo Sri Lanka; 2016. Available from: http://www.woncasar2016.org/. [Last accessed on 2016 Mar 03].  Back to cited text no. 2


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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