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World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President, Witold Bańka, and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pictured after signing the WADA-WHO Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 2, 2023. (Photo courtesy: WHO)

WHO, WADA sign MOU to collaborate on ridding sport of doping

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signed a four-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow experts from both international organizations to collaborate and share information on issues where anti-doping and public health intersect.

The MoU, signed in Geneva, Switzerland by WADA President, Witold Bańka, and WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and which will run until October 1, 2027, aims to bolster efforts towards the prevention of substance abuse and emerging drugs, and the promotion of clean sport.

“One of the three criteria for a substance to be added to WADA’s Prohibited List of Substances and Methods is if it represents an actual or potential health risk to athletes. Through our agreement with WHO, experts from both organizations will be able to work collaboratively to exchange information on emerging substances and reinforce scientific positions that will ultimately benefit not only athletes, but society as a whole,” said Bańka.

On his part, Dr Tedros said partnering with WADA reflected WHO’s commitment to work closely with the sport sector to encourage increased physical activity globally in order to promote healthier lives for all.

“Sport and all forms of physical activity are essential to good health, and competitive sport plays a key role in inspiring people to be more active,” the WHO chief said.

“The use of performance-enhancing substances can harm athletes, and certainly harms sport and those who look up to athletes as role-models. Keeping sport clean, therefore, has benefits beyond the sporting arena for the health and well-being of individuals and societies everywhere,” he added.

According to the WHO, the MoU aligns with both organizations’ common objective of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Goal 3: Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.

This formal agreement between WADA and WHO follows an initial meeting between the two organizations which took place in April 2023 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

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