The WFME Executive Council, the decision making body of the Federation, meets annually to set the strategy and working plan which will eventually be executed by the Presidency. IFMSA enjoys the privilege of being one of the 10 voting members, attending the annual meeting and actively contributing to the discussions.
The 2018 Executive Council meeting took place on May 5th and May 6th in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and the IFMSA LME represented our Federation. Among the topics discussed were organisational and operational matters, new projects that the WFME is considering such as the potential (and challenging) Accreditation of Graduate Medical Education, the 2019 WFME Conference and of course, all members presented their updates and reports.
The IFMSA report, which included all the major work being done externally and internally since the beginning of the term, was met with enthusiasm and a lot of support from the members present. More importantly, IFMSA presented a new project proposal under the encouragement of WFME and ECFMG, on the exploitation and unethical recruitment of medical students. This issue has been escalating in the last decades, with students being made false promises by unaccredited medical schools and mediating agencies in exchange for heavy tuition fees. Council members agreed on the importance of taking action and the WFME, WMA and ECFMG agreed to actively support this initiative; now, what remains to be done, is to formulate a clear and concise plan within IFMSA and present it to our partners.
A major highlight of the Executive Council meeting was the presentation of the upcoming 2019 WFME Conference in Seoul, Korea sometime in April – the exact dates are to be determined. IFMSA will, of course, be there next year to support and contribute actively to the Conference!
Another highlight of the Executive Council, was the official inclusion of the Junior Doctors’ Network as members. IFMSA would like to extend a warm welcome to JDN and we look forward to collaborating actively in the Council.
While the meeting ended on May 6th, most of the members remained in Yogyakarta to attend the SouthEast Asia Regional Association for Medical Education – SEARAME 5th International Conference. SEARAME is one of the 6 Regional Associations of the WFME and represent the countries of the WHO-SEARO region (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste). Attending the SEARAME Conference was an excellent opportunity for IFMSA to get an inside view of how medical education looks like in countries not currently represented in the Federation and make important contacts that could potentially work together with IFMSA to join.
On the first day, the Regional Associations representatives presented lessons from each region on the challenges and solutions for improving health professions’ education and thus, the quality of health professionals.
Experiences from the Medical Education Systems, and in particular the licensing process, of Indonesia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the USA were presented, highlighting the similarities and differences between countries as well as the different approaches: ranging from multiple step extensive examinations (Thailand, USA) to singular MCQ test (Bangladesh) to no licensing examination at all except for foreign-trained students (India). The models for licensure greatly differ across SEARO countries, adding to the global diverse landscape.
During the last plenary, the speakers explored International Accreditation and Recognition, with WFME and WFME recognized accreditation agencies taking the stand and sharing their experiences and lessons. While standardized international accreditation mechanisms, with respect to each country’s individual needs and priorities, remains a challenge there has been significant progress with more and more accreditation agencies reaching out to WFME.
Overall, the 4 days between May 5th and May 9th were packed with discussions on standards and accreditation, offering valuable lessons to IFMSA and all members/attendees present. Moving forward, IFMSA is very happy to further and deepen the collaborations with the WFME Regional Associations and to continue our work with the WFME.
We are also very happy to report that WFME will be present in the upcoming African Regional Meeting, and WPAME will be present in the upcoming Asia Pacific Regional Meeting!
Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the LME, Katerina Dima, at [email protected]