WMA TB & HIV-AIDS Resolutions revised in coordination with IMA
Dr KK Aggarwal
In the recently concluded Annual General Assembly in Chicago held from October 11-14, 2017, the World Medical Association (WMA) passed two resolutions on Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-AIDS, after undergoing major revisions.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) volunteered to be the coordinating national medical association for these resolutions. This was only the right thing to do given the high prevalence of the two diseases in the country and hence, of great public health concern to us.
India accounts for one-fourth of the global TB burden, including MDR TB, as reported in Global TB Report 2016. And, India is among the top three countries with the highest number of people living with HIV. The total number of people living with HIV in India is estimated at 21.17 lakhs (17.11 lakhs–26.49 lakhs) (India HIV Estimation 2015 report). Of these, only 14 lakh are diagnosed.
As the coordinating national medical association for both these resolutions, suggestions from all member national medical associations were sent to IMA, who compiled and finalized the resolutions, which were then passed by the recent Assembly at Chicago.
Both these Resolutions on TB and HIV-AIDS were first adopted in October 2006 by the WMA Annual General Assembly in South Africa.
WMA Assembly also passed a Revised Declaration of Geneva incorporating various changes and additions. IMA was a part of the workgroup that worked on the amendments to ‘The Physician’s Pledge’.
IMA is also coordinating revisions to another WMA document on Reproduction Rights.
Some salient points of the two resolutions are as below:
WMA Resolution on TB
• “Screening of high risk groups including PLHIV (people living with HIV) and vulnerable populations including migrants, prisoners, and the homeless should be considered within each national epidemiological context as a component of tuberculosis prevention.
• Rapid diagnosis with molecular tests and supervised daily treatment started early should help arrest the spread of disease.
• The WMA supports the WHO “End TB Strategy” and its visions, goals and milestones.
• The WMA calls on National Medical Associations to support their National TB Programmes by generating awareness among healthcare professionals about TB management and early reporting of cases in the community.”
WMA Resolution on HIV-AIDS
• “In addition to representing a staggering public health crisis, HIV/AIDS is also fundamentally a human rights issue.
• Discrimination against HIV / AIDS patients by physicians is unacceptable and must be eliminated completely from the practice of medicine.
• Patients with HIV/AIDS must be provided with competent and appropriate medical care at all stages of the disease.
• Physicians must ensure that patients have accurate information regarding the treatment options available to them.”