Students and Young doctors conjoined in Primary Health Care – The Future of PHC starts now!

The 7th and 8th of February will be remembered as historic days in the development of Family Medicine in Europe. In those days, the 1st Vasco da Gama Movement Forum was held in Barcelona with more than 160 participants and 40 speakers!

The title of the forum was “One Strong Voice for the Family Doctors of the 21st Century”. The programme was focused on the topics of the future of Family Medicine, like Emergency Medicine and Out-of-Hours Services, Mobility, Career Development, Research Skills and Emerging Technologies and had the presence of important personalities from WONCA such as the WONCA President Elected Dr. Amanda Howe and the WONCA Europe President Professor Job FM Metsemakers.

President Elected Dr. Amanda Howe at the joint opening ceremony of the 1st VdG Movement Forum and the XVIII Jornadas de Residentes de la semFYC (© Dr. Raquel Bravo)


IFMSA had the opportunity to have an active participation during all the Forum and it even organized a workshop with more than 40 participants with the topic “Medical Students in Primary Health Care – Opportunities and Prospects”, being coordinated by Agostinho Sousa (IFMSA Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues) and Sebastian Huter (AMSA-Austria).

During the workshop we discussed how to improve Primary Health Care education in Medical Schools and their curriculum; how to raise medical students interest in PHC; how to improve the access to exchanges in PHC in Basic Medical Education and how to improve the access to exchanges in residents in General Practice/Family Medicine. After discussion we agreed on the key messages:

– There is the need for a big commitment in the learning and teaching in communities and not only in central hospitals

– Better support for mobility of students and young professionals

– Improved collaboration between students and professionals related to Primary Health Care.

IFMSA Workshop Group Picture: “Medical Students in Primary Health Care – Opportunities and Prospects”


IFMSA is committed in promoting even more the importance of PHC and a new way of teaching that approaches the students to their communities, find new ways of expanding the IFMSA exchanges to more PHC settings and support other initiatives of young professionals related to their mobility, such as the Hippokrates Exchange.

IFMSA would also like to congratulate the amazing Organizing Committee of the 1st Vasco da Gama Movement Forum and the Vasco da Gama Movement for the invitation to participate in this important forum of discussion!

Organizing Committee of the 1st VdGM Forum

With best regards,

Ivana di Salvo, IFMSA Liaison Officer for Research and Medical Associations

Agostinho Sousa, IFMSA Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues

Sebastian Huter, Member of the Austrian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) and the Young General Practitioners of Austria (JAMÖ)


Hosting a Side Event at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference

“Are you from IFMSA? It’s simply amazing how you guys are everywhere”! This was the first sentence I heard from an external after arriving in Thailand. And it was also the mindset with which IFMSA Delegation at PMAC has been working these days. Yes IFMSA is everywhere, and yes, IFMSA does a good job creating impact in an outcome oriented work… everywhere! From NGOs to politicians, healthcare professionals to decision-making figures, everyone starts to know IFMSA, and expecting to hear about us, and what are we doing! This is amazing, but it is also a responsibility! With this spirit, IFMSA decided to host the first youth side event ever held at PMAC, under the subject “Reducing health inequities through action on the global and local determinants of health and well-being”.


For a whole morning, IFMSA gathered many specialist on Health Professional Education, with the aim of dicussing the drivers of health inequities, to discuss tools and frameworks for applying the SDH approach in both future health practice and health care leadership.

We started with a short presentation of who IFMSA is and what we do, and then had an opening presentation on “Preparing health workers for the 21st century”. Based on the Lancet’s Commission report, Josko started a high level discussion around what should be the new mindset of physicians, according to today’s reality, problems, and difficulties.

To address the Medical Education component deeper, Agostinho gave us an overview on current scenario of the medical education worldwide and the importance of mutual respect of healthcare professionals in order to provide better healthcare to the patient. The WHO Educational Guidelines: a very recent document launched by WHO at the Human Resources for Health Global Forum in Recife, where IFMSA was also present. Discussion followed around the challenges ahead, the equilibrium between quantity and quality in medical education, the accreditation processes, and the raising migration within the health workforce.


Split into small working groups, participants were then asked to debate around some “scenarios” proposed by Roopa. With each one’s experience and expertise, problems such as retention of physicians in rural settings, accreditation of medical schools, and inclusion of Global Health and SDHs in medical curricula were discussed.

And because the ground rule is to be specific, and to have outcome-oriented discussions, a list of commitments was created as last part of the event.

It is indeed amazing, and a privilege, to be part of this team of global young advocates for better healthcare, for universal health coverage, for equity and equality…. For a better world! Because this is what we want, this is what IFMSA wants, and this is the “IFMSA we want!”