Gender Equality In Healthcare Is A Top Priority, Says New Global Physician Leader

Gender equality in healthcare is not just a goal, but a necessity. It is integral to ensuring the health and well-being of all individuals, leaving no one behind, the newly elected President of the Association said today.

Dr. Lujain AlQodmani, former International Relations Director of the Kuwait Medical Association in her inaugural speech at WMA’s General Assembly in Kigali highlighted the glaring gender disparities that persist in healthcare worldwide.

She pointed to the shocking imbalance in COVID-19 vaccinations, where some countries saw only one woman vaccinated for every three men. The President stressed that this disparity extends beyond vaccinations to maternal healthcare, underscoring that not all women have access to the quality care she was privileged to receive.

Moreover, Dr. AlQodmani drew attention to the broader ramifications of gender inequality, such as female genital mutilation, limited access to education for girls, and child marriage. She emphasized that gender equality is not only a moral imperative, but also a fundamental requirement for achieving universal health coverage and addressing the social determinants of health effectively.

Other key issues of focus recommended to the physician leaders include the context of climate change’s impact on health, the transformation of food systems, the quest for Universal Health Coverage, the ethical implications of emerging technologies in medicine, and the vital role of youth in healthcare leadership.

Universal Health Coverage was also a key point in the Valedictory address of the outgoing WMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele. “We’ve been advocating for resilient healthcare systems, robust primary care led by physicians, and stronger commitment to Universal Health Coverage and workforce well-being post-Covid-19. Although we’ve made some progress, global health disparities remain. It’s vital to sustain our advocacy and ensure government commitments to address issues like the 10 million health workforce deficit, brain drain, burnout, and violence in healthcare.”