As we approach the last weeks of 2018 there is a lot of news to share with you from around the world:

Workshops for WONCA World
IPCRG led its first workshops for WONCA World in Seoul: thanks to Tan Tze Lee, Singapore and Amanda Barnard, Australia, for representing us at WONCA World; our first opportunity to demonstrate the value of our collaborative agreement signed last year. Read more, see the photos and the presentations here.

This builds on the European WONCA respiratory sessions we have led for a number of years and plan to do again next year in Bratislava.  Let us know if you plan to be there and want to get involved!

The presentations from previous meetings are here for your use, so please do have a look to see if the material is helpful in any educational sessions you run.   

1st IPCRG Euro-Asian Conference
At the same time, a larger IPCRG faculty supported the 1st IPCRG Euro-Asian meeting in Kyrgyzstan. This was an outstanding success, with 380 primary care nurse and physician delegates from not only the host country, but neighbouring Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.  It was supported by the Vice Prime Minister and also the Minister of Health, who we met, and who is committed to improving respiratory health.


Building on our successful experience in Porto, we ran a separate nurse programme, and also, in conjunction with EURACT, the European Academy of Teachers of Family Medicine, we ran a one and a half day IPCRG Teach the Teacher programme for 30 primary care teachers on personalised care. This built on the new resources we’ve created which are available at:

We used the conference to publicise the themes of FRESH AIR, which is now entering its final data interpretation and writing phases.  See for the latest information.

We ran several workshops on spirometry.  Our desktop helper remains a useful reminder, and now our colleagues from European Lung  Foundation have  published guides to spirometry for patients in many languages which you can find here.


Jaime Correia de Sousa represented primary care at the WHO-GARD annual meeting in Helsinki in August and gave an update on IPCRG and our Asthma Right Care Project. Our colleagues Niels Chavannes and Kristine Whorlow were also there to promote primary care.

Click on the image below to see the whole poster.

All presentations and posters from WHO GARD in 2017 and 2018 are available from its new website:, including a new one featuring FRESH AIR. Sign up to receive the newsletters too.

Asthma Right Care
As well as at our symposium in Porto in May, Asthma Right Care has been presented at four national meetings, at WHO-GARD, at EUROPREV, at the Union Conference and a presentation is planned for the WONCA European conference in 2019. We are preparing an implementation pack for wider use, including how-to videos, how to lead your own design charrette and how to access the Asthma Right Care slide rule and question cards.  The aim is to get the conversation started about over-reliance on asthma symptom relief,  to create discomfort with the present state, and to start to build interest in what is asthma right care.  It draws on social movement theory and practice and the “right care” concept described in the Lancet series in 2017. 

Bookmark and join our Telegram group.  As well as GPs, we have lots of pharmacists and patients involved – so spread the word!

IPCRG Vision
In July our Board of Directors reviewed and refreshed our strategy and agreed a new vision for the charity: Breathing and feeling well through universal access to right care. This chimes with the new Declaration on Primary Care accepted unanimously at the WHO meeting in Astana last week: Universal coverage (one of the Sustainable Development Goals) can only be achieved through primary care, but we have to ensure that it is access to good quality care (as Dr Tedros describes passionately in his Lancet commentary: because ”Poor care erodes trust”).

IPCRG is in discussions with a number of funders to ensure we can continue to support good quality care through the implementation of our education strategy, that blends programmes such as Teach the Teacher with online learning, education evaluation and practical how-to desktop helpers. We will have more news on Children with Asthma in the coming weeks! 

We are committed to increasing research capacity in primary care and have a great case study to share with you from our Malaysian colleagues who started their research journey at our Singapore meeting in 2015, thanks to a small IPCRG bursary. This led to an IPCRG prize, and they are now studying for PhDs at the University of Edinburgh. Find out more about how IPCRG is boosting research careers here

In addition to FRESH AIR in Uganda, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Greece, we have now introduced 9 member countries to global research collaboratives: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India (NIHR RESPIRE);  China, Brazil, Georgia and North Macedonia (NIHR Breathe Well); Sri Lanka, Uganda, India and Kyrgyzstan (NIHR RECHARGE).  We are also moving into the last phase of our Global Bridges funded Teach the Teacher programme on Treating Tobacco Dependence in Romania, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan.  Attend our conferences to find out more!

What next?
We will be opening abstract submission for our 6th Scientific Meeting on 19 November (submission runs to 4 March 2019). The meeting will be in Bucharest 24-25 May 2019, hosted by our RespiRO colleagues We are planning a qualitative research school and mentoring as well as hosting annual meetings for two of our other global health research collaborations RECHARGE and BREATHE WELL.
We have begun detailed planning for two meetings in 2020: 10th World Conference in Dublin 28-30 May 2020 in conjunction with our Irish group, and 1st IPCRG International (China) Conference where we will take an IPCRG faculty to our CARDPC colleagues’ national meeting that attracts 4,000 delegates. We are starting this year with a visit to China by our President Ioanna Tsiligianni and Noel Baxter, clinical chair of our UK group, PCRS-UK. They will be describing the role of IPCRG; the importance of primary care, what can be expected of good quality primary care, and giving practical advice on COPD diagnosis, treating tobacco dependence and other messages outlined in our desktop helpers.  

Look out for a new Desktop Helper on Treating Tobacco Dependence which supports our 2017 position paper promoting the 3As: Ask, Advise, Act. This has been tested with our Kyrgyz colleagues and will be shared with our Chinese colleagues before a general launch. It addresses some of the challenges we know you face: lack of access to specialist tobacco dependence treatment services, and to affordable nicotine replacement therapy.

See the full list of desktop helpers here: 

Please share this newsletter with colleagues, and we look forward to seeing you in Bucharest!

Siân Williams

Ioanna Tsiligianni
President IPCRG


Read more here  from the University of Washington about their Spirometry 360 and SpiroSmart programme, that we tested as an E-Quality programme and has now been extended to Bangladesh thanks to a grant from a grant from CoMotion to the University of Washington team.

To quote from their blog:

"Dr. Habib’s clinic was the only one to specialize in pulmonary ailments for two hundred square miles. Patients with lung conditions came from all over to be tested and get treatment. As such, where some clinics in Seattle might see fifty patients in a week, Dr. Habib’s clinic saw that many in a day, and as many as a thousand a month. For Mayank Goel, [one of the team at University of Washington] it was a goldmine of data, and  December 2015 he went to visit Dr. Habib in Bangladesh and see the operation for himself. He was able to spend more than two days testing SpiroSmart in the field, comparing its results with those of the standard spirometry test. “It was tremendously valuable,” he says."

Dr Monsur Habib, our Bangladesh Senate representative, has provided more than two thousand head-to-head tests, and on a variety of ailments. From this, the University of Washington SpiroSmart team will be able to improve their algorithm for a mobile app that will let physicians use phones to test a patient’s lung capacity. Working with Prof Jim Stout, they are hoping to launch SpiroSmart later in 2016, and are working to get FDA approval. The hope is that, with SpiroSmart, patients will eventually be able to use their own phones to track their lung function at home.


The University of Washington is one of our FRESH AIR partners.  Read more about extending spirometry to Uganda, Kyrgyz Republic, Crete and Vietnam here.

Prof Mike Thomas

Chair IPCRG Research Sub-committee




Newsletter 4th Aug, 2015
Dear IPCRG colleague

I'm pleased to announce that the IPCRG's website is now more accessible and easier to navigate: please take a look at
My thanks to the webteam of Janwillem Kocks, Miguel Roman, Sam Louw, Linda Kennison, Siân Williams, Lucy Searles, Laurens Hogeweg and Zareh Geertjes.

We hope that you find all that you need there. We welcome suggestions of additional resources, and please use the "Share" button to alert if you find any errors or omissions.
1. Click on the button to expand the menu.
2. This reveals the Share button.
3. Type in "Sam Louw" and the right address will be offered as an option.
If you are not yet registered on the site, please do this to have the best viewing rights. You can do this by going to and it doesn't cost you anything.
We look forward to your feedback.

Kind regards

Dr Ron Tomlins
President IPCRG
The International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) is a charity registered in Scotland working internationally (SC No: 035056) and a company limited by guarantee (Company number 256268)

The IPCRG is the Respiratory Special Interest Group of WONCA Europe and an Organisation in Collaborative Relations with WONCA Global 

The IPCRG is the primary care representative on WHO-Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD) Planning Executive

Supporter of the NCD Alliance