World Medical Association Council meeting

At its 170th Council session in Divonne-les-Bains, France (May 13-15) the World Medical Association discussed a number of issues, including the following:

The meeting condemned the genocide in Dafur and urged all its national medical association members to urge their governments to take immediate action to stop the mass killings, expulsions, rape and destruction. The Council approved a resolution calling attention to the reported 300,000 Dafurians who have been killed and the one million refugees who have been displaced since early 2003 on the basis of racial or ethnic origins.
Dr Yoram Blachar, chairman of the WMA Council, said: 'The World Medical Association, as an international medical organisation committed to the protection of health and human rights for all, has frequently expressed its support for human rights in statements and today we are urging national medical associations around the world to press their governments to intervene now to stop the mass killings and to protect the health and safety
of refugees in the region.'

A report on the deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe was given to the meeting by Dr James Appleyard, immediate past president of the WMA, who said that increasing numbers of children were being left to die. One in eight children was now dying under the age of five years - the highest rise in mortality in the world. One in five children were orphans. The number of doctors had decreased from around 1,400 to about 800 for a population of 11 million. Harare Hospital, the largest hospital complex in the country, was literally disintegrating. There was institutionalised violence and torture occurring. Dr Kgosi Letlape, President-elect of the WMA, reported on meetings with the Zimbabwe Medical Association and said there were plans to set up a regional WMA in Africa that would offer assistance.

The meeting instructed the secretary general, Dr Otmar Kloiber, to ask the Chinese Medical Association about allegations that Chinese physicians are assisting in the execution and removal of organs from executed prisoners for sale on the global market. Although China is a member of the WMA, there was no representative from the Chinese Medical Association at the meeting.

Dr Yoram Blachar (Israel) was re-elected chairman of Council.
Dr Nobuya Hashimoto (Japan) was elected vice-chairman.
Prof. Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe (Germany) was elected treasurer
Dr Eva Bågenholm (Sweden) was elected chairman of the medical ethics committee.
Dr Henry Haddad (Canada) was re-elected chairman of the socio medical committee.
Dr John Nelson (USA) was elected chairman of the finance and plannning committee.

Separate press statements were issued on the Healthcare Skills Drain and Taiwan.