Adopted by the 59th WMA General Assembly, Seoul, Korea, October 2008, and
reaffirmed with minor revision by the 210th WMA Council Session, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018 and by the 224th WMA Council, Kigali, Rwanda, October 2023
The majority of the existing human infectious diseases, including the bioterrorism agents, are zoonoses. Zoonoses can, by definition, infect both animals and humans. By their very nature, the fields of human medicine and veterinary medicine are complementary and synergistic in confronting, controlling and preventing zoonotic diseases from infecting across species.
Collaboration and communication between human medicine and veterinary medicine have been limited in recent decades, yet the challenges of the 21st Century demand that these two professions work together in times when there is an increased risk of zoonotic diseases due to globalization and climate change, in addition to changes in human behavior.
An initiative, often called the “One Health” initiative, is being developed to improve the lives of all species through the integration of human and veterinary medicine. “One Health” aims to promote and implement close meaningful collaboration and communication between human medicine, veterinary medicine and all allied health scientists with the goal of hastening human public health efficacy as well as advanced health care options for humans (and animals) via comparative biomedical research.
The WMA recognizes the ways in which animals and animal care may affect human health and disease through its own current policies, particularly its statements on Animal Use in Biomedical Research, Antimicrobial Resistance and on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The WMA also recognized the impact that climate change has on health, through its Declaration on Health and Climate Change.
That the World Medical Association:
- Support collaboration between human and veterinary medicine.
- Support the concept of joint educational efforts between human medical and veterinary medical schools.
- Encourage joint efforts in clinical care through the assessment, treatment, and prevention of cross-species disease transmission.
- Support cross-species disease surveillance and control efforts in public health, particularly the identification of early disease and outbreak trends.
- Recalling its Statement on Antimicrobial Resistance, urge joint commitment to the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance by avoiding overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine, as well as in food production.
- Support the need for joint efforts in the development, integration and evaluation of screening tools, diagnostic methods, medicines, vaccines, surveillance systems and policies for the prevention, management and control of zoonotic diseases.
- Pursue and consolidate its dialogue with the World Veterinary Association to discuss strategies for enhancing collaboration between human and veterinary medical professions in medical education, clinical care, public health, and biomedical research.
- Encourage its Constituent Members to engage in a dialogue with their veterinary counterparts to discuss strategies for enhancing collaboration between human and veterinary medical professions within their own countries.