WMA African Medical Initiative


The strength of health systems found in countries where there are good health outcomes lies largely from the professional leadership as provided by their national medical associations (NMAs).These are civil society organisations whose membership is comprised of medical doctors from diverse backgrounds including academicians, researchers, health planners, policy makers, health managers and clinicians. Where they are well organised, NMAs are at the fore front of promoting professional standards among doctors and advocating for quality health care. Their leadership role is recognised by their governments and other health organisations. They are considered by the general public as credible sources of information to serve their health systems.

The World Medical Association (WMA) is a global professional body formed in 1947, whose membership is made up of National Medical Associations.  WMA provides NMAs with guidance and capacity building on how to contribute to their health systems. It gives opportunities for networking and sharing of information between doctors working in strong health systems and those in weak ones. 

A basic needs survey was carried out in 2013-2014 which consisted of four regional consultative workshops held in South Africa Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia. Top executives of African NMAs also completed a questionnaire. There were also consultations with NMAs outside the African continent such as the USA, UK, Japan Australia and New Zealand.

African NMAs were found to generally weak lack the capacity to play their leadership roles to influence their national health systems.

The 9 specific areas identified for capacity building for African NMAs were as follows:

  1. Organizational Strengthening
  2. Areas for advocacy in Medical Education
  3. Improving access to Continuing Professional Development
  4. Universal Health Coverage
  5. Promoting Social Determinants of Health
  6. The One Health approach
  7. Brain Drain
  8. Research and publication
  9. E-Health

The WMA will embark on capacity building of NMAs in the specific areas of focus mentioned above.

A team of Uganda Medical Association medical specialists based in Kampala Uganda and World Medical Association executive members have been constituted into a team that will provide Project with technical support. An administrative secretariat has been formed to support project activities.

Duration of project

5 years (2015-2020)

Project Goal

To strengthen the capacity of African NMAs to fulfil their professional leadership role and improve the health systems of their countries.

Anticipated Outcome

African NMAs effectively influence the health systems of their countries

Specific Objective

To develop the capacity of African NMAs in specific identified areas of focus.


Online Discussions

Resource persons with expertise in the identified areas of focus for capacity building will be invited to moderate focused online discussions related to the identified areas for capacity building.

Regional meetings and pan African conferences and workshops

These will be carried out with the aim of providing leaders of African NMAs share challenges and innovations they have used to influence their health systems. NMAs from outside the African continent will also be invited to participate and share their experiences.


NMAs outside the African continent will be invited to twin and collaborate with African NMAs under the specific areas of focus.

Collaborative Partnerships

Government and private sector organisations will be invited to support the NMAs.

Project Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Benchmarks and impact assessment indicators have been identified to enable monitoring and evaluation of the success of the project and learning for future use. There will be a mid- term review after the end of year three to evaluate and learn from the projects findings.