The Vasco da Gama Movement is the WONCA Europe network for new and future Family Doctors, defined as those in training for Family Medicine/General Practice and in the first five years after qualification as a Family Doctor/General Practitioner. The Movement began after the first meeting for junior doctors prior to the WONCA Europe conference in Amsterdam in 2004. The Movement was formally launched at the WONCA Europe Conference in Kos in 2005. Since 2014 onwards, the Vasco da Gama Movement has been holding yearly forums.
The 5th Vasco da Gama Movement Forum 2018 took place in the Northern section of the Portuguese Medical Association in the city of Porto, Portugal.
In keeping with our vision, to take our local research findings to the international stage, we managed to send Dr Chamath Fernando and Dr Kavijaya Wijayasinghe back through the spice route. This time with some 21st century luxury goods in the form of research findings that were presented as posters.
“Biophysical attributes, bone densitometry scanning revealed dimensions and interrelations between them; an urban Sri Lankan study” poster by Chamath Fernando, Kavijaya Wijayasinghe, Chandima Jeewandara and Shyamalee Samaranayaka, was well received by the European counterparts and the positive feedback were an encouragement for future publications. Through this we were successful in exposing how the National Centre for Primary Care and Allergy Research contributes to benefit the local communities by providing a low cost DEXA scan facility and making data available from this region of the world.
Dr Chamath Fernando and Dr Shamini Prathapan’s “What do young doctors know of Palliative Care; How do they believe the concept should work?” poster too, had good positive feedback and was well discussed during the ‘Speek Geeking’ sessions.
The ‘Speed Geeking’ session was a good concept to be brought back home and to apply for future NCPCAR events for poster presentations. Here, an audience that is divided into small groups and assigned to initial stations go around the posters to discuss them while a facilitator rings a bell every five minutes. So, the presenters would have five minutes to share their message. Also, there were oral presentations called ‘Ignite Presentations’ where the speakers have five minutes to present their 20 slides to the audience and the slides automatically move forward every 15 seconds. This too was another new concept learnt and will be taken for our events to come.
At the end of these sessions, there were curiosity from the Spanish representatives to initiate an exchange programme for their students in the field of Family Medicine which will be yet another big leap towards the NCPCAR mission for collaborative work internationally.
All in all, it was a very successful trip and much was learnt over the two-day forum in the modern European world of Primary Care. As we were warned earlier, the Forum was a perfect opportunity for us to be “infected with the Vasco da Gama Movement virus – chronic, and without an antidote!” Equally to give back the spicy flavour of the National Centre for Primary Care and Allergy Research and place it on the global map!