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Nigerian Dr. Osahon Enabulele concludes tenure as WMA President

Dr. Osahon Enabulele, a Nigerian physician, has officially handed over the leadership of the World Medical Association (WMA) after completing his one-year term as president from 2022 to 2023. The transition took place during the 74th General Assembly of the WMA, which convened in Kigali, Rwanda.

A Call for Unity and Vigilance

During his farewell address at the assembly, Dr. Enabulele called upon physicians worldwide to stand united in their ongoing battle against oppression. He expressed concern over disturbing incidents of violence targeting physicians and healthcare professionals both within and outside their workplaces over the past year. This underscored the urgency of the issue of violence against medical professionals.

Defending Fundamental Rights

Dr. Enabulele encouraged physicians to vigorously resist any attempts to undermine their fundamental human and labor rights, as well as their professional autonomy and clinical independence. Additionally, he expressed his dismay at the relatively low awareness and perception of the WMA among individual physicians and citizens, despite the organization’s 75-year history.

Creating Awareness and Dispelling Misconceptions

In addressing this awareness gap, Dr. Enabulele urged the incoming leadership to prioritize efforts aimed at educating individual physicians and the general public about the mission and objectives of the WMA. He emphasized the need to dispel misconceptions, such as the belief that the WMA is a missionary organization and that the position of WMA President is a salaried role.

Challenges in Global Health Relations

Dr. Enabulele also discussed the WMA’s relationship with international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). While the WMA has maintained its international ties with these entities, he expressed disappointment with their treatment of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including the WMA. He highlighted the need for a more inclusive approach in global health discussions, ensuring that organizations like the WMA have adequate opportunities to contribute meaningfully.

Reflecting on a Prolific Year

Regarding his one-year tenure, Dr. Enabulele described it as a period marked by intense engagement and activity. He and his team successfully built upon previous achievements, launching initiatives that elevated the WMA’s visibility and influence on the international stage.

Advocacy for Universal Health Coverage

Among the initiatives, the WMA engaged in robust advocacy for Universal Health Coverage, Resilient Health Care Systems, and Resilient Health Workforce. They recognized the imperative of reshaping healthcare systems in a post-COVID-19 world and advocated for the development of resilient healthcare systems, with a focus on physician-led multidisciplinary primary healthcare, Universal Health Coverage, and “One Health” principles.

Addressing Health Disparities and Violence

While acknowledging some progress, Dr. Enabulele noted that health disparities and inequities still persist worldwide. He implored the incoming leadership to continue their advocacy efforts, emphasizing the prevalence of violence against physicians and healthcare professionals, a pressing issue that demands attention and resolution.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Enabulele highlighted the importance of solidarity and the condemnation of acts of violence that undermine not only medical professionals but also patients and healthcare systems. His tenure aimed to strengthen the global medical community’s resolve to address these challenges, and he expressed confidence in the WMA’s continued pursuit of its mission under new leadership.

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