World Medical Association empowers Korean med students to confront healthcare realities < Hospital < Article


Executives of the World Medical Association (WMA) executives directly answered questions from Korean medical students who said they wanted to change the dark reality of Korean healthcare.

World Medical Association's executives attended the Korean Medical Association's Global Forum Symposium in Seoul on Tuesday. (Credit: KBR)
World Medical Association’s executives attended the Korean Medical Association’s Global Forum Symposium in Seoul on Tuesday. (Credit: KBR)

Former and current WMA executives participated in a panel discussion at the Korean Medical Association (KMA)’s Global Forum Symposium on Tuesday to share each country’s current medical issues and explore ways to advance healthcare together. The forum was held to mark the WMA’s 226th Council meeting in Seoul.

A medical student from the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine said, “As a student seeking a career as a physician, I feel that our future is not bright. The government doesn’t listen to the opinions of doctors, who are experts, when making healthcare policies. I want to know how to change this reality.”

Osahon Enabulele, former WMA President from Nigeria, and Zion Hagay, Chair of the Socio-Medical Affairs Committee at WMA from Israel, echoed the call for more physician politicians.

“Nigeria has been able to achieve many of the healthcare policies that physicians have demanded because of the large number of physicians in the parliament and cabinet,” said Dr. Enabulele. “We need more physicians in decision-making positions. If you don’t participate in the public arena, no one will listen.”

Hagay said, “If we don’t have the support of the Congress, it’s difficult to get our demands implemented.”

“We need more doctors to get involved in parliamentary politics, not only to increase the influence of the medical profession but also to ensure a good healthcare system.”

Ashok Philip, incoming WMA president from Malaysia, said that while developing physician politicians is one option, he believes it is more effective to influence established politicians as a professional organization.

“The prime minister of Malaysia is a doctor, but there are a lot of problems with healthcare policy,” Philip said. “We need to unite as a profession to put pressure on politicians. Politicians can come up with really workable solutions, but they are also driven by the needs of society.”

Lujain Al-Qodmani, President of the WMA from Kuwait (Credit: KBR)
Lujain Al-Qodmani, President of the WMA from Kuwait (Credit: KBR)

Lujain Al-Qodmani, President of the WMA from Kuwait, encouraged the younger generation to speak out on healthcare issues, and emphasized that the older generation must ensure that young doctors have a voice.

“As medical students, I want you to have your voice in healthcare issues. You should also be interested in and try to understand the power dynamics,” she said.

Enabule agrees. The Nigerian Medical Association has a mentorship program that allows medical students to participate in governance and public debate.

“Some doctors don’t even know what position to take in a meeting with the ‘enemy,'” Enabule said, adding that more important than whether a doctor engages in political discourse is the type of doctor who chooses to participate.




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