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Doctors Urged To Eliminate Unsafe Injections

24 August 2001

DOCTORS URGED TO COMBAT AIDS BY ELIMINATING UNSAFE INJECTIONS

Doctors around the world have been urged by the World Medical Association to work towards eliminating unsafe and unnecessary injections that help spread killer diseases, such as AIDS.

Dr Delon Human, secretary general of the WMA, speaking at the annual conference of the Zimbabwean Medical Association in Kariba, said that of the 50 million injections administered annually around the world, more than 40 per cent could be regarded as unsafe and even unnecessary. Physicians held the key to eliminating these injections.

He said physicians should not forget the simple methods to help combat HIV/AIDS.

"Of the 34 million people worldwide infected with HIV, 24 million live in Africa. Instead of over-emphasising the need for expensive drugs, physicians can make a significant contribution by advocating and working for safe injection".

He also urged all doctors to work actively against human rights abuses and especially torture. Physicians were best placed to diagnose and treat victims of torture and had a code of honour to always serve the best interests of their patients before any other considerations.

"Unfortunately it is clear that human rights abuses against physicians have increased significantly. This is probably because physicians are regarded as social leaders."

Dr Human called for unity in the medical profession. He said that in many countries medical associations were successfully divided and ruled by politicians and physicians should not stand for this. It was the responsibility of physicians to train themselves better in communication, social skills and economics to become more effective social leaders.

Finally, Dr Human called on all those involved in research to conduct medical research in an ethical manner. Poor countries were often exploited for medical research because of less stringent regulations, and patients were often willing to participate in trials for benefits such as treatment or even financial measures.

"Physicians should make sure that their patients are informed of the risks and benefits of participating in trials. Furthermore, researchers should be absolutely transparent regarding economic incentives, potential risks and patients assured of medical care should complications occur."

For further information please contact:

Nigel Duncan: WMA Public Relations Adviser (+44) 0207 383 6113 (office), 0208 997 3653 (home) 07990 542 026 (mobile), nduncan@bma.org.uk (e-mail)

Dr Delon Human: WMA Secretary General 00 33 607 164177 (mobile)

Website: www.wma.net

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