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UEA prof is first female president of global family doctors’ group

Amanda Howe

Norwich GP and University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Professor of Primary Care, Amanda Howe, was appointed the first female president of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca) at its global conference in Rio this month.

“I’m honoured and delighted to take on this role,” said Prof Howe, who is a part-time GP at Trinity & Bowthorpe Medical Practice and one of the founders of UEA’s Medical School. “Wonca is a not-for-profit organisation with links to 150 institutions worldwide, and includes more than 550,000 family doctors covering around 90% of the world’s population.

“Our objective is to improve general practice and family medicine by sharing knowledge, influencing policymakers and developing capability across the wide range of healthcare issues that can affect any patient, from family violence to the challenges faced by rural practices.

“I’m particularly interested in using my two-year presidency to improve access to primary healthcare in areas of the world where there’s currently little or no provision,” she said. “Lack of equality in access to healthcare is a huge issue globally - areas of Africa and refugee and asylum-seeker communities are particularly badly affected – and is something this organisation is working hard to change.

“We partner local leaders for general practice to create a vision, then support them in making it happen. Wonca is a recognised World Health Non-Governmental Organisation, so we also lobby and advocate at a high strategic level. Here in the UK, we work closely with the Royal College of General Practitioners to share knowledge and promote the importance of family medicine, particularly important at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to recruit and retain doctors in primary care.”