Former Ethiopian health minister bids for WHO’s top job

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

Six international health experts, including the former health minister of Ethiopia, will compete to become the next director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) after its current leader Margaret Chan ends her tenure next June.

Reuters Health reports that nominations for the position, announced on Friday, include Britain’s David Nabarro – who was the UN’s special envoy for Ebola during the crisis in 2014/15 – and Ethiopia’s foreign minister and former health minister, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Also nominated are Sania Nishtar, a former minister in Pakistan’s government; the French former health minister Philippe Douste-Blazy; Italy’s Flavia Bustreo – currently an assistant director general at the WHO; and a former health minister of Hungary, Miklós Szócska.

The report says the Geneva-based WHO described the director-general’s position as that of a “chief technical and administrative officer” who oversees the agency’s international health work.

Chan, who was appointed in 2006, has come under fire for the WHO’s slow response to the deadly Ebola epidemic which raged through West Africa in 2014/15, killing more than 11,300 people. She will step down on June 30, 2017, making way for the new director general to take over.

The report says the WHO’s election process states that by January 2017, the agency’s executive board will shortlist a maximum of five candidates. They will be interviewed by the board, which will nominate up to three to go forward to the World Health Assembly in May 2017, where the WHO’s 194 member states vote for a winner.

Reuters Health report

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