Wanted A leader for the toughest job in global health

first_imgTomorrow, the WHO Executive Board will select five of the candidates for interviews on Wednesday. The trio that will stand in the May election will then be announced on Wednesday evening.The winner will earn a paycheck of more than $200,000 but also face a daunting task: reforming an organization that has been heavily criticized for its handling of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and whose far-reaching mandate is “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health.” With an annual budget of about $2 billion, that’s a very tall order, says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “WHO does everything: disability and diabetes, outbreaks, smoking, human rights. All of these are important but you cannot do it all with $2 billion,” Hotez says. “I think what we need is a director-general who will look and see what you can actually do with the money.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Global health watchers will pay close attention to Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, when the World Health Organization (WHO) will announce the final three candidates to take the agency’s top job. The decision by WHO’s Executive Board, made up of representatives of 34 member states, follows months of behind-the-scenes jockeying, campaigning by the candidates, and intense speculation. It will be followed in May by a final vote by WHO’s 194 member states.Six countries have fielded candidates to succeed Margaret Chan, the former Hong Kong, China, health official who is stepping down after 10 years at the helm. Among the top contenders, many say, is former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The African Union has declared its support for him and some observers have suggested it’s time for WHO’s first director-general from the African continent. Another candidate widely seen as having good chances is David Nabarro, a physician nominated by the United Kingdom who has worked at WHO in various positions and was appointed the United Nations’ senior coordinator on Ebola in 2014.The other candidates are Pakistani cardiologist Sania Nishtar; former French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy; Hungary’s former minister of health, Miklós Szócska; and WHO’s assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, Flavia Bustreo from Italy. Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The most important skill for any future director-general will be a keen sense of politics, says Ashish Jha, a global health expert at the Harvard School of Public Health. “You don’t need the world’s greatest public health expert. You need somebody who can corral public opinion, someone who understands how states trade interests and jockey and negotiate.” Chan’s flaw as a director-general was that she felt she could only do what the member states wanted to do, he argues; in a 2015 interview with Science she described how complicated having “194 bosses” made her task. “I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the job,” Jha argues.last_img

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