World Medical Association Council : 8-10 May 1997

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The World Medical Association will hold its 147th Council Session at the Paris Hilton Hotel, France from 8 to 10 May 1997. Among the issues under discussion are:

Appointment of New Secretary General

The present Secretary General, Dr Ian Field, is due to stand down at the end of this year. Advertisements for a new Secretary General appeared in January this year and a short list of candidates is to be interviewed by the WMA Council on May 8, after when an announcement can be expected.

Applications for Membership

Applications for membership of the WMA have been received from Ecuador and Malaysia.
If approved by the Council and ratified by the General Assembly in October, this would bring the number of national medical association members of the WMA to its highest ever total of 67.

Health Hazards of Tobacco Products

The Norwegian Medical Association has proposed an addition to the WMA's Statement on Health Hazards of Tobacco Products, declaring that doctors should refrain from accepting any funding from the tobacco industry and urging medical schools, research institutions and individual researchers to do the same.


The increasing threat from TB is the subject of a paper from the British Medical Association which calls on national medical associations to promote more effective management of the disease.

Medical Imbalance

A proposed Statement, jointly submitted by the Danish and the Royal Netherlands Medical Associations, proposes that because of imbalances in the supply and demand of doctors across the world, with shortages in one area and unemployment in another, more effective manpower planning should be take place.

Licensing of Physicians Fleeing Prosecution for Serious Criminal Offences

A proposed Statement has been submitted by the British Medical Association calling on national medical associations to ensure that physicians against whom serious allegations of participation in torture, war crimes or crimes against humanity have been made are not able to obtain licenses to practice until they have answered these allegations.

Rights of the Hospitalised Child

A proposed Declaration has been submitted by the Chilean Medical Association setting out the rights of hospitalised children and for their parents, representatives and health workers.

Doctors and Torture

The Danish Medical Association has proposed a new Statement supporting and protecting doctors who refuse to participate in or condone the use of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This would extend the WMA's Tokyo Declaration that calls on doctors not to condone or participate in the practice of torture.

United Nations Rapporteurs

A proposal has been submitted by the British Medical Association supporting the idea of establishing a new UN post of rapporteur on the independence and integrity of health professionals. The rapporteur would be charged with the task of ensuring the free movement of doctors and the availability of medical treatment to patients, without discrimination as to nationality or ethnic origin, in war zones or in situations of political tension.

Declaration of Geneva

The British Medical Association has submitted a draft revision to the Declaration that celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

Guidelines for the Quality Assessment of Health Care

A proposed Declaration has been submitted by the Finnish Medical Association and has been circulated to national medical associations for comment. These will be considered by the socio medical affairs committee. The proposed guidelines strengthen the pursuit by doctors and health care institutions of quality assessment practices and create ethical grounds for audit.

Improved Investment in Health Care

The Royal Netherlands Medical Association has submitted a proposed Resolution concerning improved investment in medical care in rural areas and this has been circulated to national medical associations for comment. The Resolution proposes that governments should allocate at least 20 per cent of their gross national product to basic social programmes.

Statements and Declarations approved by the Council in Paris would have to be adopted by the WMA's Annual General Assembly before becoming official Association policy. The next Assembly will be held in Hamburg, Germany from November 10-14.