World Medical Association Council Meeting

The 206th WMA Council meeting was held in Livingstone, Zambia, (April 20-22) and was attended by almost 200 delegates from more than 30 national medical associations.
The meeting discussed a number of issues, including the following:

Medical Cannabis
A proposed Statement on legalising cannabis for medical use was discussed, as well as the adverse effects associated with ‘recreational use’. It was agreed that the document be forwarded to the WMA’s General Assembly in October for adoption.

A debate took place on proposals to revise the Association’s long-held policy on boxing to include safety regulations until a ban could be put in place. The meeting decided to recommend a revised policy to the General Assembly for adoption.

Air Travel
Measures to improve the availability and effectiveness of in-flight medical care were debated, along with the idea of allowing physicians to provide emergency care during flights without fear of legal reprisals. The Council agreed to forward a revised policy to the General Assembly for adoption.

Bullying and Harassment
A proposed Statement on bullying and harassment in the medical profession was brought to the meeting by the New Zealand Medical Association. Delegates were told there was good evidence that disruptive and inappropriate behaviour and harassment were widespread in the medical workplace, and occurred across all specialties and at all levels of seniority. The Council agreed to forward a new policy document to the General Assembly for adoption.

Hunger Strikes
Proposals to update the Association’s long standing policy on hunger strikes were discussed, with a view to clarifying ethical advice to physicians. Delegates decided to revise the Association’s Declaration and forward it to the General Assembly for adoption.

Forced Anal Examinations
The Council considered a proposal to revise the Association’s Resolution on Forced Anal Examinations. It was decided to propose a new title, adding the words ‘to Substantiate Same-Sex Sexual Activity’ and to forward the document to the General Assembly for adoption.

Other issues considered include:
Armed conflicts, medical education, alcohol and water and health. New policy proposals will be forwarded to the General Assembly.

Dr. Ardis Hoven was re-elected Chair of Council
Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery was re-elected Vice Chair of Council
Dr. Andrew Dearden was re-elected Treasurer
Dr. Miguel Jorge was re-elected Chair of the Socio Medical Affairs Committee
Dr. Heidi Stensmyren was elected Chair of the Medical Ethics Committee
Dr. René Héman was elected Chair of the Finance and Planning Committee

Separate press releases were issued on an emergency resolution on the imprisonment of a Turkish doctor and the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.

General Assembly

The WMA’s next Council meeting and annual General Assembly will be held in Chicago, USA from Oct 11-14.

World Medical Association Council meeting

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