World Medical Association - 48th General Assembly

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The World Medical Association's 48th General Assembly, meeting this week in Somerset West, Western Cape Province, South Africa, installed its new president, DR BERNARD MANDELL, chairman of the Federal Council of the Medical Association of South Africa.

It elected Dr Azrul Azwar, president of the Indonesia medical Association, as its president-elect. He will take office at the next meeting of the WMA Assembly in Hamburg, Germany, next year.

The Assembly adopted the following policies:

a new Declaration on Family Violence that calls on national medical associations to intensify their efforts to combat the universal problem of family violence which is described as a major public health problem. The document addresses the need for doctors to be adequately trained about the issue and for patients to be given more information on the subject by doctors;

a new Statement on Resistance to Antimicrobial Drugs declaring that the global increase in resistance, including the emergence of bacterial strains resistant to all available antibacterial agents, had created a public health problem of potentially crisis proportions. The Statement calls for the enhancement of the World Health Organisation's global network of antimicrobial resistance surveillance and for research on the development of innovative antimicrobial agents. It is also proposed that antimicrobial agents should be available only through prescription by licensed qualified health care and veterinary professionals;

a Statement on Family Planning and the Right of a Woman to Contraception recommending national medical associations actively to promote the benefits of family planning education;

a statement on Professional responsibility for Standards of Medical Care;

a Statement on Weapons and their Relation to Life and Health (see separate statement).

Further papers were debated and these will now be circulated to national medical associations for their comments. These papers relate to:

  • responsibilities of patients;
  • rights of the unborn;
  • licensing of physicians fleeing prosecution for serious criminal offences; rights of the sick child; investment in health.

Dr Radovan Karadzik

The meeting approved a motion denouncing Dr Radovan Karadzik as a physician bringing the medical profession into disrepute ?for not surrendering himself to the International Criminal Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia and demands that he does this forthwith?.

New Members

Two new medical associations were admitted to the WMA - the Haitian Medical Association and the Ugandan Medical Association.

  • Note to editors: The World Medical Association is an independent
  • confederation of professional national medical associations from more than 60 countries.