The newly inaugurated President of, World Medical Association (WMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, have described systemic racism as totally unacceptable.
Enabulele, a family health physician from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and former President, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), in a new declaration adopted at WMA’s yearly General Assembly in Berlin, Germany, said racism in medicine could create entry barriers to the medical profession for certain historically excluded groups, leading to a lack of representation.
“This leads to adverse health outcomes for patients and persistent health inequities. A medical profession that is representative of the population is crucial to addressing health disparities among patients,” he said.
The physician, in a statement, said racism in all its forms exists in medicine throughout the world and has a direct impact on patients and their health. He acknowledged that racism is structural and deeply engrained in health care, and that this is a public health threat.
The statement, entitled, ‘Declaration of Berlin’, said physicians from marginalised communities face racism from patients, other physicians and health professionals.
The new WMA policy criticised medical journals for being remiss in addressing the issue of racism and its impact on health inequities.
The association urged its members and all physicians to commit to dismantling racist policies and practices in health care and advocate for anti-racist policies and practices that support equity in health care and social justice.
The WMA is the independent confederation of national medical associations with 116 constituent members representing more than ten million physicians.
Acting on behalf of patients and physicians, WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care, ethics, education and health-related human rights for all people.