IFMSA was present at the annual European Conference of Family Doctors (WONCA Europe Conference) from 15th to 18th of June 2016 in Copenhagen Denmark. Skander Essafi, the Liaison Officer for Public Health issues and Diogo Silva, Regional Director for Europe, organized a symposium on health literacy: Health literacy in ageing europe
It has been decided 4 years ago that the WONCA Europe Conference 2016 would be organized in Copenhagen, Denmark by the Nordic federation of family doctors. WONCA Europe is the european branch of WONCA World, the global family doctor organization, with whom IFMSA has a Memorandum of Understanding.
WONCA Europe Conference is a yearly meeting hosting more than 3000 delegates including young and experienced doctors but also students including IFMSA representatives.
The event focused mainly on 5 themes:
- The ageing Europe and how we can face the consequences it has on our health conditions;
- Making healthcare affordable and what can Family Medicine do to preserve and develop its core functions and values;
- The future consultation and how will general practice be able to address future developments and expected tasks;
- Diagnosing – a vital task for family medicine and how to make it in line with other specialties usage;
- Inequality in health and specific patient groups including some specific diseases like mental illnesses and within vulnerable groups such as elderly and children.
The schedule of the conference was diverse and consisted of plenaries, workshops, symposiums and poster presentations. It also varied from theoretical lectures to practical and/or clinical activities, ranging from individual to populational perspective.
IFMSA representatives took part actively in the Youth Doctor (Vasco Da Gama Movement) meeting showcasing the updates in the activities, IFMSA being one of the collaborators in different activities including the Rural Health Group and the newly launched exchange students handbook in family medicine, amongst others.
Furthermore, IFMSA had the opportunity to present a symposium on Healthy Literacy in Ageing Europe in line with one of the conferences themes. The symposium covered an introduction to IFMSA and the rationale behind our commitment to social determinants of health but also to health literacy. Additionally IFMSA efforts and interest in health literacy were showcased, from capacity building to advocacy and promotion activities that require also collaboration and support from our professors and family doctors who should lead by example so that the future generation can learn while practicing. We also invited a Vasco da Gama member to present her research project results on health literacy link with breast cancer screening.
Finally, IFMSA attended a joint symposium between WONCA and WHO Europe, where both organizations focused on their partnership regarding primary healthcare and the impact of connecting it with public health, which was well received by the audience.
To conclude, IFMSA had the pleasure to be part of the WONCA Europe Conference that is a stepping point of the collaboration between IFMSA and WONCA and where our members are also invited to join and learn from such activities.