Rationale for Accreditation

Rationale for Accreditation

The accreditation of medical education – the certification of the suitability of medical education programmes, and of the competence of medical schools in the delivery of medical education – ensures patient safety and competent practising doctors. Accreditation of medical education is normally carried out by national governments, or by agencies receiving their authority from national governments.

Objective 1.1 of the WHO (2016) Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 is that ‘by 2020, all countries will have established accreditation mechanisms for health training institutions’.

The Guidelines for Accreditation of Basic Medical Education were developed by an international task force in 2004, and published jointly by WHO and WFME in 2005. These guidelines form the basis of the 2013 WHO policy briefing on medical accreditation and the 2016 IAMRA statement on accreditation of medical education programmes.

WHO policy on the promotion of accreditation of basic medical education was developed and agreed in a strategic partnership with WFME. There is a related set of WHO/WFME guidelines on accreditation of basic medical education.

An extra stimulus to make sure that the standards and processes of accreditation agencies are satisfactory has come from the policy of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) of the USA on accreditation. In 2010, ECFMG introduced medical school accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency, now known as the Recognized Accreditation Policy. The goal of this initiative is to stimulate accreditation efforts worldwide and promote global standards for the evaluation of undergraduate medical education. “Recognized accreditation” means that the accrediting agency of a medical school has itself been reviewed and recognized by an external quality assurance organization. This quality assurance/recognition organization, in turn, has been reviewed and approved by ECFMG. Accrediting agencies recognized by WFME fulfill the requirements of the Recognized Accreditation Policy. For more information on this policy, visit the ECFMG website at www.ecfmg.org/accreditation.

A list of known accrediting agencies for each country is held in the Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA). Those agencies with WFME Recognition Status are indicated in DORA. The status of all agencies, including those with Recognition Status and those which have formally started their application to the WFME Recognition Programme, is published here


Accreditation is the certification of the suitability of medical education programmes, and of the competence of medical schools in the delivery of medical education.

Recognition Status

Recognition Status is awarded by WFME to an accrediting agency working to an internationally accepted high standard, and confers the understanding that the quality of accreditation of undergraduate medical schools is to an appropriate and rigorous standard.

WFME search