EURIPA (European Rural and Isolated Practitioners Association) – a network organization of WONCA Europe – and the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine (APMGF) accepted the challenge of hosting the 9th EURIPA Rural Health Forum in the Azores Islands (Ponta Delgada), from November 7 to 9. Therefore, the annual gathering of general practitioners and family doctors who work in isolated and/or rural settings will come to fruition in that enchanted group of Atlantic islands, where the practice of isolated Medicine is an everyday reality. The motto will be “Isolation and rural medicine: innovation solutions for developing local health services”.
The program is being prepared with great attention to detail and will be formulated around three main axis: acute health conditions, chronic conditions and clinical interventions in rural/isolated settings. Specific topics will include areas like polypharmacy, multimorbidity, telemedicine, medical training in the online era, or patient management, among others, always in the perspective of health professionals that practice in isolated/rural settings.
The forum is going to include multiple presentation and knowledge sharing formats, from keynote speeches to conferences, workshops an oral presentation sessions.
“It seemed obvious to us, since the beginning, that the Azores Islands would be a perfect location for this event, taking in consideration the kind of medicine that is practiced in many of the small island communities. I must emphasize, by the way, that in the past the EURIPA Forum has been organized in several other islands, such as Crete or Majorca”, explains the president of the Local Host Committee, José Augusto Simões.
The organizers are expecting a very substantial turnout, with many Portuguese and Spanish participants, hopefully breaking the record number of visitors for this annual forum. To achieve that goal, it is also important that many South and Central American family doctors cross the Atlantic Ocean. According to José Augusto Simões “EURIPA is very much interest in building bridges to Latin America and especially developing stronger bonds with Brazil, where rural and isolated family medicine has an indisputable presence. Therefore, we want to create a program that is both appealing to European family doctors ad to Latin-american colleagues”.
Alongside a very comprehensive scientific program, the president of the Local Host Committee promises an unforgettable cultural experience to all of those who decide to visit the Azores next November: “we are in the process of creating an exchange program for all of those who wish to stay during a few more days, in order to know a little bit better the routines of local family doctors and the everyday management of healthcare services. For the residents and junior family doctors, we are considering the possibility of a specific exchange activity, to be developed in cooperation with Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM). The selected participants will probably be able to stay for two or three extra days, visiting local health centers and sharing experiences with local doctors, who will act as their hosts”. A musical and cultural evening is also being prepared. It will be held at Teatro Micaelense, the most celebrated concert and theater hall of the Azores, built in the late nineteenth century.