World Medical Association Declaration - WMA 5th World Conference on Medical Education

Adopted by the 43rd World Medical Assembly Malta, November 1991
and rescinded at the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, 2006

Medical Education is a continuum of learning beginning with admission to medical school and ending with retirement from active practice. As such, it is a prime concern of all National Medical Associations and of the World Medical Association.

Medical Associations in every country should dedicate themselves to marshalling the resources needed to provide for and guide quality medical education. This should be done in the context of appropriately sized classes with access to adequate faculty, facilities, and funding.

To focus professional and public support for medical education, medical associations in all countries should be acutely aware of the needs, opinions, expectations, and personal dignity of their citizens.

As a result of deliberations at the 5th World Conference on Medical Education, the World Medical Association declares the following:

  • The goal of medical education should be to produce competent and ethical physicians, who respect their roles in the physician-patient relationship.
  • The elements of competence must include knowledge, skills, values, behaviors, and ethics which provide quality preventive and curative care for individual patients and the community.
  • Research, teaching, and ethical patient care are inseparable and essential to achieving the goal of physician competence.
  • An international core curriculum should be developed that will produce and maintain a competent physician whose skills transcend international borders.
  • Internationally standardized methods of assessing professional competence and performance should be developed and applied in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education.
  • Free and prompt international dissemination of professionally generated and analysed medical information should be exchanged on epidemiological and public health problems to guide the development of public policies, the education of physician, and the public.
  • International standards should be established for the evaluation of educational programs across the continuum.
  • Education throughout a physician's lifetime should be incorporated as a moral responsibility in an international code of ethics for all physicians.
  • Medical Associations in all countries should be prompt in responding to forces that threaten the integrity of medical education.
  • The effectiveness, safety, and applications of new technologies should be expeditiously identified and integrated into the continuum of medical education.