Let the science lead on covid-19, says new global physician leader

The World Medical Association must continue to let the science lead in the battle against Covid-19, the newly elected President of the Association said today. Dr. David Barbe, former President of the American Medical Association, and a family physician from Missouri, USA, in his inaugural speech at the WMA’s virtual general Assembly said the WMA must continue to advocate for adequate personal protective equipment, appropriate facilities and medical equipment, and adequate support staff.

He went on: ‘We must work with public health officials to pursue policies that reduce the frequency and severity of disease while at the same time allow for an orderly and safe conduct of business and education. We must continue to let the science lead us and be vocal advocates for evidence-based treatment and safe and effective vaccines.’

Dr. Barbe said the pandemic had made the intersection of health inequities and chronic disease even more apparent.

‘Those already experiencing health inequity are often those with chronic diseases who are also at increased risk for Covid-19. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension occur with greater incidence in populations of colour, Asians and those in lower socio-economic sectors.

‘We can address both health inequities and chronic disease at this meeting.’

He said that as physicians, they must hold themselves to the highest standards.

‘We must stay committed to the core principles of the patient-physician relationship. We must speak out and seek remedies to address violence against patients and physicians. We must point out the inhumanity of societal or governmental actions that target ethnic or religious groups or that use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against others.’