The Spice Route

The Spice Route

‘The Spice Route’ is the Wonca South Asia Region working group for new and future doctors who have an interest in family/ general practice. It aims to promote excellence in this field and to address the challenges pertaining to global health. The creation of this group was inspired by the work of similar Wonca groups for new and future family/ general practitioners around the world: the Vasco de Gama movement in Europe, the Rajakumar movement in the Asia-Pacific region, Waynakay in the Ibero-americana region, and NAFFDONA in the North America region.

The Spice Route was officially inaugurated at the Wonca South Asia / General Practitioners Association of Nepal (GPAN) conference, in Kathmandu, in December 2010. Dr Ramnik Parekh made a presentation at the conference outlining the details of the group. Dr Sonia Chery, of the UK, described the need for such a movement and Dr Raman Kumar gave a sketch of contemporary scenario of training of GPs in India. The session was chaired by WONCA President, Prof Richard Roberts.

The Spice Route held its first pre-conference, in Mumbai, on December 16, 2001, at the Wonca South Asia region /FFPAI (Federation of Family Physicians’ Associations of India) conference held in collaboration with the AFPI (Academy of Family Physicians of India. This first The Spice Route pre-conference was inaugurated with words of blessing from senior colleagues, Prof Richard Roberts, Wonca President; Dr Preethi Wijegoonewardene, Wonca South Asia Region President; Dr Ramnik Parekh, FFPAI President; Prof Pratap Prasad, GPAN President; and Prof Kanu Bala, president of the Bangladesh Academy of Family Physicians. There was active participation from approximately 80 new and future family / general practitioners from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Convenor / Chair

Dr Bhavna Matta (India)

Dr Bhavna Matta is a Medical Council of India (MCI) and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certified physician who is currently pursuing Family Medicine Residency (PGY2) in New Delhi.

She graduated from University of Seychelles American Institute of Medicine (USAIM) in 2009, and completed her internship at a government hospital, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and Hospital, in Mumbai. This further nurtured her clinical skills and practice of medicine through its huge outpatient inflow of over six hundred thousand per year. To gain experience in the corporate sector, she worked as a Resident Medical Officer at Sterling Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.

During her internship and residency, she actively volunteered and organized community camps, construction site camps and health checkups. She conducted a research study on knowledge, attitude and practice study regarding HIV among construction site workers. She proactively initiated and was involved in educating construction site workers and corporate office employees regarding safe sexual practices and life style modifications to prevent non communicable diseases. She also had an opportunity to spend a month in rural clinic at Vaitarna, Maharashtra, which gave her insights into practicing medicine with minimal medical resources. After having diverse experience in different sectors of the society, Dr Bhavna Matta is one of the pioneers in the country who voluntarily opted for Family Medicine residency.

Her area of interest is towards development of training of Family Medicine Residency in India and to establish collaborations with International Organizations to support the cause. Simultaneously, her interest in holistic healing, led her to GMCKS Pranic healing and Arhatic yoga workshops, which give her a whole picture of disease conditions and healing techniques when it comes to practice of medicine.

Dr Bhavna Matta is determined to set forth on this journey to bring about transformation in education and training for Family Medicine in the entire South Asia Region starting from her home country, India.

Email Chair

Co-Convenor or other office bearers

as of September 2014 new executive members are being finalised.


to be advised


to be advised

The Spice Route National Liaisons:


National Chair: Dr Bhavna Matta
National Secretary: Dr Md Idris Shariff
FM 360 Coordinator: Dr Kunal Doshi


National Chair: Dr Md Ali Shareef
National Secretary: Dr Munaahath


National Chair: Dr Rabeeya Saeed
National Secretary: Dr Sanam Shah
FM 360 Coordinator: Dr Sidra Kanwal


National Chair: Dr Santosh K. Dhungana
National Secretary: Dr Sneha Pradhananga Shrestha
FM 360 Coordinator: Dr Rony Maharanjan

Sri Lanka: 

National Chair: Dr Hiranthini De Silva
National Secretary: Dr Dinusha Perera
FM 360 Coordinator: Dr Erandie Ediriweera


National Chair: Dr Md Innamin lamisa.
National Secretary: Dr Zakiur Rahman
FM 360 Coordinator: Dr Md Ali


Dr Chhabi Lal Adhikari

Advisory Board

Prof. Kanu Bala
Dr Raman Kumar
Dr Ramnik Parekh
Dr Jyoti Parekh
Dr Sundaram Arulrhaj
Dr Pratap Narayan Prasad
Dr Shehla Naseem
Dr Waris Qidwai
Dr Riyaz Qureshi
Dr Antoinette Perera
Dr Preethi Wijegoonawardene
Dr Shyamalee Samaranayaka

Membership Open?

Vision and Mission

  • Foster mentoring between current and future leaders in family medicine in the South Asia Region.
  • Promote representation by young family medicine leaders in the South Asia Region.
  • Allow young and future family doctors an avenue to explore the greater depth of our clinical discipline.
  • Expose young doctors to the cultural differences in family medicine across our region.
  • Provide an international perspective on training in family medicine and enable us to work together within our region to strengthen the role of primary health care in each of our communities.
  • Contribute to the development of new structures to support high quality primary health care with ideas from the future family medicine workforce.
  • Promote training in family medicine and induct fresh graduates in family practice .
  • Promote family medicine in the South Asia region.
  • Allow learning from the diverse, old and young countries in our region where there are many models of family medicine.
  • Explore possibilities of exchanges with other movements.


  • To improve education and training for young family physicians/ general practitioners in the South Asia Region.
  • To increase opportunities for new and future family physicians/ general practitioners to develop skills in:
    • family and general practice research
    • family and general practice publication
    • family and general practice presentations at national and international conferences
    • family and general practice exchanges
  • To give a platform for new and future family physicians/ general practitioners to share their concerns, doubts and aspirations and help to address them.
  • To encourage new and future family physicians/ general practitioners leadership through participation in The Spice Route’s executive structure.


Future development:

  • Spice Route structure and communication channels:
    • Strengthening of a core group of The Spice Route members and national representatives
    • Creation of a Facebook group (Spice Route Movement)
    • Creation of a website (to be announced)
    • Funding
    • Creating links with other countries in the South Asia region: Afghanistan, the Maldives and Bhutan, and with other groups such as Vasco de Gama, Rajakumar, NAFFDONA and Waynakay. 
  • Education, training and faculty development
    • Comparative studies of education and training systems, and curricula within the region
    • Development of recommendations to senior organisations and policy makers
  • Research
    • Liaison with existing primary care research groups
    • The Spice Route platform for presentation at future pre-conferences, and publications in affiliated journals such as the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care
    • Research methodology workshops at future The Spice Route events 
  • Exchange programmes
    • Organisation and funding of opportunities to learn from each other, first hand, at a national, regional and international level, including participation at Wonca conferences in the South Asia and other regions.


Relevant Resources