About the WMA


What is the WMA?

The World Medical Association (WMA) is an international organization representing physicians. It was founded on 17 September 1947, when physicians from 27 different countries met at the First General Assembly of the WMA in Paris. The organization was created to ensure the independence of physicians, and to work for the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour and care by physicians, at all times. This was particularly important to physicians after the Second World War, and therefore the WMA has always been an independent confederation of free professional associations. Funding has been by the annual contributions of its members, which has now grown to 106 National Medical Associations.

The WMA provides a forum for its member associations to communicate freely, to co-operate actively, to achieve consensus on high standards of medical ethics and professional competence, and to promote the professional freedom of physicians worldwide.

This unique partnership facilitates high-calibre, humane care to patients in a healthy environment, enhancing the quality of life for all people in the world.

What is its mission?

The purpose of the WMA is to serve humanity by endeavoring to achieve the highest international standards in Medical Education, Medical Science, Medical Art and Medical Ethics, and Health Care for all people in the world.

What we do?

As an organization promoting the highest possible standards of medical ethics, the WMA provides ethical guidance to physicians through its Declarations, Resolutions and Statements. These also help to guide National Medical Associations, governments and international organizations throughout the world. The Declarations, Resolutions and Statements cover a wide range of subjects, including an International Code of Medical Ethics, the rights of patients, research on human subjects, care of the sick and wounded in times of armed conflict, torture of prisoners, the use and abuse of drugs, family planning and pollution.

Others areas of service:

  • Health-related human rights - promoting and defending the basic rights of patients and physicians
  • Medical education - helping physicians to continuously improve their knowledge and skills
  • Human resources planning for health care services
  • Patient safety
  • Public health policy and projects such as tobacco control, immunization
  • Democracy building for new medical associations, especially in new or developing democracies
  • Leadership and career development
  • Advocacy for physicians' and patients' rights
  • Occupational health and safety

Partnerships and Alliances:

The WMA is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO). Partnerships and alliances with other health professional associations, governmental and non-governmental agencies and regional medical associations support the work of the WMA to provide the best possible care to the patients of the world. In particular, the World Health Professions Alliance (www.whpa.org) combines the strengths of the international professional associations for physicians, nurses and pharmacists to advocate and work for the highest possible standards of health care for all people.