Academy quarterly newsletter

Published on: 25 April 2019

In this newsletter:

1. From the President’s desk

2. 22nd National Family Practitioners Congress

3. Membership renewals 2019-2020

4. 6th WoncaAfrica Conference

5. Earn all your CEU’s free of charge each year

6. Op-Ed: Why fixing primary health care is crucial to making South Africa healthier

7. ICYMI: Wonca MOU with WHO

From the President’s desk

Changes at the South African Family Practice Journal

A number of new appointments have been made over the last few months. Dr Klaus von Pressentin has been appointed as the new Editor-in-Chief of the South African Family Practice Journal with Prof Indiran Govender as Assistant Editor. We are immensely grateful to Prof Gboyega Ogunbanjo who has been leading the journal for many years and has now stepped down.

Dr von Pressentin is a family physician at Mossel Bay District Hospital and has a wealth of research experience. Not only does he have a PhD in Family Medicine, but also prior experience as an Assistant Editor with the African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine. Prof Indiran Govender is a family physician at Sefako Magatho Health Sciences University and has a substantial track record of published research and peer reviewing.

One of the first tasks that Dr von Pressentin had as Editor-in-Chief was to appoint a new Editorial Board to serve a 5-year term. I am delighted to announce that the following people agreed to serve:

      • Prof John Tumbo, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
      • Dr Michael Pather, Stellenbosch University
      • Dr Tasleem Ras, University of Cape Town
      • Prof Hanneke Brits, University of the Free State
      • Prof Andrew Ross, University of KwaZulu-Natal
      • Prof Gert Marincowitz, University of Limpopo
      • Dr Lushiku Nkombua, University of Pretoria
      • Prof Olufemi Omole, University of Witwatersrand
      • Prof Parimalaranie Yogeswaran, Walter Sisulu University
      • Dr Adam Asghar, Rural Doctors Association of South Africa

In addition, we are delighted to have a number of international family physicians on the new Board:

      • Prof Amanda Howe, University of East Anglia, UK and immediate past-president of Wonca
      • Prof David Ponka, University of Ottawa, Canada and member of the Besrour Centre
      • Prof Valerie Wass, Keele University, UK and member of the Royal College of General Practitioners
      • Prof Carl de Wet, Griffith University, Australia
      • Dr Kenneth Yakubu, University of Jos, Nigeria and active member of AfriWon (the young doctors movement of Wonca Africa)
      • Dr Vincent Cubaka, University of Rwanda.
Changes in the Academy’s Executive

Prof Gboyega Ogunbanjo has also stepped down as Vice-President of the Academy and a member of the Executive. The Academy Council voted Dr Lushiku Nkombua as a new Executive member and Prof Andrew Ross as the new Vice-President. Dr Nkombua is a family physician in Mpumalanga and part of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pretoria. Prof Ross is a family physician in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Congratulations to both of them for this recognition of their contribution to the discipline.

World Family Doctor’s Day May 19th

I also draw your attention to World Family Doctor’s Day on May 19th with the theme of “Family doctors – caring for you for the whole of your life”. Think about celebrating this event in your practice or department
It would be good to share stories of family doctors who have gone the extra mile in caring for their patients on this day. Two stories that I am aware of recently are:

Dr John Mitchell, 28, has been widely praised for going the extra mile to reach patients at Mzulwini clinic at Hole in the Wall on the Wild Coast after protesters had blocked the road. Determined to treat his patients at a rural clinic, he hiked for kilometres with 25kg of medicine on his back and then swam across a river to reach them in the Eastern Cape.

Dr Sedi Namane, one of the first black women to graduate as a medical doctor from the University of Cape Town, is a family physician at Vanguard Community Health Centre in Cape Town. The Government of the Western Cape named her the best frontline public service employee in 2019. This is also a recognition of the valuable contribution that family medicine can make to the health services.

22nd National Family Practitioners Congress

Midrand Conference Centre, Midrand | 23 – 25 August 2019

Have you registered yet for the 22nd National Family Practitioners Congress 2019 that will take place 23-25 August 2019 at the Midrand Conference Centre? The annual conference is a wonderful opportunity to interact with Family Medicine colleagues from all over South Africa, to get updates on different topics and participate in hands-on workshops. The theme for this year’s conference is “The primary health care team: Roles and alignment to the ideals of the National Health Insurance”.

Call for Abstracts

You still have 1 week to submit your abstracts in order to be considered for presentation at this Congress. Submissions close on the 30th of April 2019. The scientific committee will inform the applicant of the outcome of the review by 30 May 2019.


Registration is open to all and we invite our members, as well as non-members to register while the early-bird discounts still apply. This year we also have rates specifically for undergraduates, registrars and allied health practitioners. If therefore, you know of anyone that is not a family physician that would like to join us at the conference, please feel free to forward this email to them and invite them to register.

Accommodation and Travel

The Midrand Conference centre is conveniently situated across the road from Gallagher Convention Centre, one bus top away from the Gautrain station and a mere 16 minutes from Sandton City. The LOC arranged for preferential accommodation rates at the hotel for all delegates. Please click here to get more information regarding the rates as well as their contact details. For more accommodation options in the area, you can visit the conference webpage. We look forward to seeing you there!

Register Here

Membership renewals 2019 – 2020

All members should have received their membership renewal invoices for the period 1 April 2019 – till end of March 2020. From this year you can choose to pay your membership fee via debit order. Please contact Salome at if you did not receive yours or wish to find out more about the debit order.
Should you wish to become a member then you can complete the online membership application form and we will contact you shortly.

6th WoncaAfrica Conference
Kampala, Uganda | 6 – 8 June 2019

The 6th WoncaAfrica Conference will be held at the International University of East Africa in Kansanga, Kampala, Uganda from the 6-8 of June 2019. The convener of the conference Dr Jane Frances Namatovu states the following on the website:

“The chosen conference theme is ‘People centered primary care’ so that it allows colleagues to share their successes, challenges and innovations in delivering effective primary care to the populations that they serve. Apart from the infectious diseases, our populations are also currently faced with chronic or non-communicable (NCD) diseases which require health systems to have robust primary care. We are therefore hopeful that the interactions among delegates from within and out of Africa on primary care and Family Medicine will indeed impact patient care, primary care research and policy.

We are particularly delighted by the fact that this meeting will serve as an advocacy platform for quality primary care to students, who will be involved as presenters and local volunteers. They are our future and therefore the sessions will allow them to appreciate and consider the discipline of Family Medicine as an option for their future career. We promise you an enjoyable and memorable conference. Our dream is that you will come in large numbers to Kampala, Uganda at the Kansanga campus of the International University of East Africa.”

Travelling to Uganda is a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow family physicians from all over Africa. You can also add a day or two to your travels in order to visit some of the inexpensive tourist gems of East Africa such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Masai Mara National National Reserve in Kenya, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. They have compiled a list of tourism websites that can assist you with your travel plans.

The Primafamed network will meet in the same venue, 2 days prior to the conference (4-5th June).

For more information, you can visit their website at:

Why fixing primary health care is crucial to making South Africa healthier

By some measures – healthy life expectancy, obesity and depression, among others – South Africa is the unhealthiest country on earth. That’s a sobering fact to consider. How has the country got here? To what extent can its unenviable position be regarded as a failure of primary health care?

Primary health care can refer to the care offered by general practitioners or primary care nurses at your local clinic. But there’s more to it than that. Primary health care is underpinned by a vision. This sees health as an essential ingredient in the social foundation of society. It recognises that health is also interdependent on other ingredients: food, education, clean water, energy, social equity, safety, income and housing.

The healthy space for humanity to flourish is between this solid social foundation and our ecological ceiling, as issues such as climate change may also impact on health. Primary health care, then, requires a whole-of-society approach and is not just about health services.

South Africa is struggling with many of these issues. This means that in the broadest sense, the country has failed at delivering primary health care.

While those in the health care sector can’t fix all the interrelated issues I’ve described, they can address the quality of primary care.

So how can this be achieved? Despite a failure to adequately address the broad social and environmental determinants of health, South Africa has the potential in its current policy to improve primary care across the board. But policies on paper are not enough. These must be properly implemented.
Access to health care

About 80% of South Africa’s population depends on the public sector’s primary care services. But access to this primary care in the public sector is often limited by the sheer number of patients. It’s also restricted by opening times that do not cater for people who are working or become sick during evenings or on weekends.

South Africa has developed a policy…………..Read the original article in The Conversation

ICYMI: Wonca MOU with WHO
WONCA Member Organizations
Academic Members
Organizations in Collaborative Relationship

28th January 2019

Dear colleagues


Late afternoon on Monday 28th January, Central European Time, WONCA and WHO signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signalling an ever closer bond and an even greater willingness to work together on a number of health-related issues. 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

Earn all your CEU’s free of charge each year

All paid up SAAFP members have access to the print CPD activities in the South African Family Practice journal as well as it’s online CPD courses. With the collaboration of AOSIS eCPD all SAAFP members also have free, unlimited access to eCPD’s Signature courses, giving our members the ability to earn all the required clinical and ethics CEU’s each year at no additional cost. Members are automatically registered on the site when they become a member. Read here for more information on how to navigate the website.

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