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WMA Newsletter January 2023


2nd WMA Regional Expert Meeting on the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, 24-25 February 2023, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Registration for this regional meeting for Latin America, which will take place at the Associação Paulista de Medicina – APM Hall, is open here.

223rd WMA Council Session, 20-22 April 2023, Nairobi, Kenya

Registration for this in-person meeting is available here.

Future WMA meetings

All other future WMA meeting schedules are available here. Please save them in your calendar. Please also note the new dates for the 2024 WMA General Assembly in Helsinki from 16-19 October!


TMA President convicted but released pending appeal

On 11 January, Dr Fincancı, President of the Turkish Medical Association, was condemned to 2 years, 8 months and 15 days in jail by the Istanbul Penal Court on charges of ‘propaganda for a terrorist organisation’. She has been released from pre-trial detention, where she was held since 26 October, pending appeal to the supreme court. WMA joined CPME into condemning the court’s decision as unfounded, unlawful and unacceptable, and a gross violation of freedom of speech. Read more here.

Support for the Turkish Medical Association and its members

The Turkish Medical Association (TMA) has been subjected to several concurrent attacks from the Turkish authorities over the past months. In addition to the detention of its President, Dr Şebnem Korur Fincancı, on charges of ‘propaganda for a terrorist organisation’, the TMA itself is being prosecuted on the same charges and its elected officers have been threatened with dismissal from their functions. Parallel to this, the Turkish authorities are drawing up legislation meant to attack the independence of the TMA by creating a second medical association, among other stipulations.

The WMA remains mobilised to support the TMA and its members, in coordination with CPME, Physicians for Human Rights and other major international human rights groups. Dr Jacques de Haller, President of the Associate Members, represented the WMA at a public event in support of the TMA on 9 January and at Dr Fincancı’s latest court hearing on 11 January in Istanbul. Recent action taken by the WMA includes:

  • Physician Leaders Warn of Threat to Autonomy of Turkish Medical Association (9/01/2023) – link
  • International Human Rights Groups Call for the Immediate Release and Acquittal of Turkish Physician (28/12/2022) – link
  • Medical Organisations Join Forces to Free Physician Leader (20/12/2022) –link

WMA urges immediate action to end humanitarian crisis in Nagorno Karabakh

This crisis follows a blockade of the Lachine Corridor connecting Artsakh to Armenia, which has led to more than 120,000 civilians being cut off from all medical aid. As a consequence, thousands of people in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic cannot receive food supplies and medical aid, and patients in the area cannot be transported to hospital in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The WMA urges the Azerbaijan government to ensure safe access through the Lachine Corridor immediately in order to avoid a worsening of this humanitarian crisis. Read more here.

WMA condemns violence against peaceful protesters in Iran and calls for death penalty moratorium

In this open letter to the President of Iran, the WMA refers to the alarming rate of violence, with reports of arrests, ill treatment and at least one physician killed by security forces. Read more here.

WHO and members of the WHPA sign memorandum of understanding on health workforce priorities

On 8 November, WHO signed a new memorandum of understanding with the five members of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA): FDI World Dental Federation (FDI), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), International Council of Nurses (ICN), World Physiotherapy, and World Medical Association (WMA), representing more than 41 million health professionals worldwide and assembling essential knowledge and experience from the key health professions in more than 130 countries. This historic milestone aims to enhance joint collaboration on protecting and investing in the health workforce to provide safe, quality and equitable care in all settings.

1st WMA Regional Expert Meeting on the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki in Israel

Around 30 workgroup members and international experts participated in this first regional meeting on the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki in Tel Aviv in December. The delegates discussed the revision process of the Declaration and discussed in more detail patient informed consent, patient data and risks to participants given the vast changes in how much data can now be gathered and shared. The final program and presentations are available here. The next regional expert meeting will be hosted by the Brazilian Medical Association in São Paulo, Brazil from 24-25 February 2023. The focus of the meeting will be the use of placebos in research on human subjects.
UN high level meeting on Universal Health Coverage UHC2023

The WMA is a member of the UHC2030 network and is getting ready for the advocacy activities surrounding the upcoming UN high level meeting on Universal Health Coverage UHC2023. UHC2030 has developed a message sheet, which provides messaging for advocates, campaigners and other stakeholders working on UHC and can be adapted to different contexts. What is UHC? Who is responsible for delivering UHC? What is the relationship between UHC and health security? What is the relationship between UHC, health systems, and primary healthcare? Why is UHC important in 2023? What is UHC2030? The 2023 engagement timeline highlights key mobilization and engagement moments for the UHC Movement ahead of the September 2023 UN High-Level Meeting. You can engage on social media throughout the year using the hashtag #UHCHLM.

UHC2030 network public consultation

The UHC2030 Network is launching a public consultation on the Action Agenda for the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting. The consultation is running from 6 January to 6 February 2023. Building on the Key Asks for the UN high level meeting in 2019, the Action Agenda defines commitments and key milestones that the UHC Network will use for advocating and rallying governments and key stakeholders at the meeting in September. The consultation only takes 10 minutes and can be accessed here.

WHO Global Experts’ Consultation “Implementing the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030: Pandemic and beyond”

The WMA participated in this consultation and, at a conference held in preparation for the next ministerial Meeting on Patient Safety in February 2023 in Montreux, Switzerland, the proposed operational guide on COVID-19 and patient safety were discussed, and progress of the implementation of Global Patient Safety Action Plan was reviewed.


New global platform to tackle the antimicrobial resistance threat to human and animal health and ecosystems

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization ( WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), known as the Quadripartite, are joining forces on this initiative to underscore the threat AMR presents to humans, animals, plants, ecosystems and livelihoods.

WHO 2022 report by the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS)

The publication of this report marks the completion of the first 5 years of early implementation. It summarizes 2020 data from 87 countries on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria that cause disease in humans, analyses the 2021 AMR rates in the context of the testing coverage of national surveillance, and provides data on antimicrobial consumption (AMC) in humans from 27 countries. For the first time, data are presented in an interactive digital format, with more comprehensive content on the WHO website.


The Health Community at COP27, November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Health was not included on the official agenda of COP27, but the health community has been working hard to ensure that the links between health and climate change are increasingly recognised by decision makers. The WMA delegation led by Ankush Bansal (WMA Associate member) and Lwando Maki (South African Medical Association) contributed actively to this global advocacy coordinated by the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) for the WHO-Civil Society Working Group to Advance Action on Climate and Health, of which the WMA is a member. Read more here.

Just transition for healthy people on a healthy planet

This report from Health Care Without Harm includes the principles and positions that guide the conversation on this topic. The position paper was prepared in collaboration and is endorsed by Doctors for Clean Air and Climate Action (India), Healthy Energy Initiative (India), Lung Care Foundation (India), groundWork (South Africa), the RISE network (SE Asia), Health and Climate Network, and the Global Climate and Health Alliance.


Medical Neutrality in Theory and Practice, 12th ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethics, 15-17 June 2023, Spiez, Switzerland (Hybrid)

This workshop is organised by the ICMM Center of Reference for Education on IHL and Ethics in cooperation with the Medical Services Directorate of the Swiss Armed Forces and the ZH Center for Military Medical Ethics at Zurich University. Find more information here.

Call for inputs on the Right to Health and access to health services and social inclusion of older persons,

This call for inputs comes in advance of the Thirteenth Session of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons. The deadline is 20 February.


Updated WMA Policy Handbook

The updated WMA Policy Handbook in English, French and Spanish has been released and is available here.

MyGreenDoctor: PFAS chemicals

This item highlights the topic of dangerous PFAS chemicals and what WMA members need to know to help protect their patients. Register for MyGreenDoctorhere with the free discount code MGDWMA.

New WHO report showcases strategies to keep children safe online

This report presents ways to address growing worldwide concern about keeping children safe online. With a specific focus on two forms of online violence: child sexual abuse, including grooming and sexual image abuse; and cyber aggression and harassment in the form of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, hacking and identity theft. The report showcases strategies and best practices to better protect children.

Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities

This WHO report demonstrates that while some progress has been made in recent years, the world is still far from realizing this right for many persons with disabilities who continue to die earlier, have poorer health, and experience more limitations in everyday functioning than others.

UN Independent watchdog paramount to torture prevention

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), UN experts highlighted the critical importance of having functional and independent preventive mechanisms at national and international level that can regularly visit all detention facilities in order to protect the more than 10 million people detained worldwide from torture and ill-treatment. Read more here.

“Step up! Tackling the burden of insufficient physical activity in Europe”

This new report, published jointly by WHO/Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), explains how increasing physical activity can prevent thousands of premature deaths in the EU and save billions of euros in health-care spending annually. The report will be launched on 17 February and presents the number of premature deaths, the estimated economic burden of insufficient physical activity in the EU countries; and a wide range of policy options that could increase physical activity levels and thereby improve population health and reduce health-care expenditure.