"Friends-for-Life of WONCA Africa" 

(FLOWA) Fund

WONCA has struggled in Africa for many years since starting in the 1970s with just a few countries participating, huge geographic spread and no regular contact except fleetingly at the WONCA World Conferences.

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This is a list of WONCA Africa Conferences held, with years: Nigeria (2000) , South Africa (2009) , Zimbabwe (2012) , Ghana (2015) , South Africa (2017).


WONCA has grown in Africa largely on the back of increasingly regular WONCA Africa Conferences, underpinned by Primafamed support led by Prof Jan de Maeseneer of Ghent, Belgium since mid-2000s. This has made networking possible across Africa that has been difficult in the years before. The regularity of conference interaction and subsequent supportive relationships have enabled family medicine to grow as a discipline across Sub-Saharan Africa.


Primafamed funding has become tenuous and there is a need for Africans to develop a sustainable way of maintaining this momentum. WONCA Africa has no income stream except the Wonca stipend for the Regional President. We are trying hard to at least garner a small amount of funds for some basic running costs. The Executive Committee meets by teleconference monthly and there is a plan for Wonca Africa Council (comprising of a growing number of Member Organisations) to now meet quarterly using Zoom.


Countries that are emerging with Member Organisations usually have a small but determined membership that want to host conferences for the value it adds to perceptions of key stakeholders in their countries. These conferences leave an incredible boost to this small group and lifts the family medicine profile locally as an ongoing legacy from hosting the WONCA Africa Conference. With a growing number of countries moving closer to the WONCA Africa fold we are hoping to institute the practice of bids and will be hoping that the WONCA Africa Council Meeting at the WONCA Africa Conference in Uganda in 2019 will deliberate on bids for two future Conferences as well as explore hosting a Wonca World Conference sometime in the future.


The difficulty usually for such countries is seed funding for the initial deposits for conference venues. We encourage them to use university venues but these can be challenging nonetheless and websites can be costly to arrange in these countries. It can be very difficult to muster a relatively large amount of funds when there are only 10 family physicians in an emerging country. They often flinch and avoid it or fall victim to sponsors that disempower them. The worst outcome is that the Conferences default to established countries like Nigeria or South Africa making it more of a country conference than an African Conference. Wonca has prioritised Africa and is working hard to make global policymakers notice the challenges for family medicine and primary health care in Africa. This needs to finds its bearing at WONCA Africa Conferences with visiting speakers from important global institutions facilitated to regularly address family physicians at the WONCA Africa Conferences.


We would like to set up a Friends-for-Life of Wonca Africa (FLOWA) Fund with $1000 of the African Presidents fund in Wonca to which others can contribute (whether African or global). We are hoping for more to come on board to reach a target of $10 000. The funds will be housed at the WONCA World Secretariat as a dedicated conference seed fund administered by WONCA World under the following conditions:


  • Funds will be approved for up to 50% of total conference budget.

  • The following must be submitted

    • Budget and business plan using template

    • Draft Theme / Programme

    • LOC/SC member list with signed Letters of Commitment

    • Clear website / marketing arrangements / invoices

  • The Conference should allow for a full two days of WONCA Africa activities as a Pre-Conference including Council, Working Parties (including Primafamed) and Afriwon meetings.

  • Twenty percent of conference profits, will be contributed together with a refund of the loan by the LOC to this FOWA Fund 6-12 months after the conference, supported by submission of formal income statements of the conference

  • Twenty percent of conference profits must also be contributed to the WONCA Africa Regional Fund held by WONCA Africa Treasurer for activities of WONCA Africa.

  • There will be a Jan de Maeseneer Lecture on COPC in Africa from leading African practitioners in the field held at every Conference.

  • There will be an Amanda Howe Lecture on FM/PHC Policy in Africa with a speaker from WHO / World Bank held at every Conference.

  • There will be no spending on Wonca Africa Executive travel-and-stay costs in the conference

  • A formal contract must be signed between LOC, WONCA Africa President and WONCA World Secretariat.

  • WONCA Africa Conferences will be supported for the first ten years, thereafter the Fund may also consider funding emerging African country National Conferences. 


These conditions may be subsumed by a formal policy by WONCA Africa adopted by a formal sitting of WONCA Africa Council on Conference Bidding and Hosting, if approved by WONCA World Exco, as trustees of this Fund.


The public are requested to contribute funds via Paypal to WONCA World Secretariat using the email with the reference “FLOWA Fund”. Those who contribute greater than $500 will be acknowledged publicly in the FLOWA Fund page on the Wonca Africa website. All contributions will be provided with a token of appreciation by the Fund.