WHO Announces Nominations for New Director General
The World Health Organization on Wednesday announced 13 candidates who have been nominated by their countries for the post of director-general to replace Lee Jong-wook -- who died in May, two years before his term ended -- the CP/CBC News reports (CP/CBC News, 9/6). The nominees are:
- Kazem Behbehani, the agency's deputy director;
- Margaret Chan, a former health director from Hong Kong and WHO's top infectious disease official;
- Mexican Health Minister Julio Frenk;
- David Gunnarsson, Iceland's minister of health;
- Nay Htun, a diplomat from Myanmar;
- Former Lebanese Health Minister Karam Karam;
- Bernard Kouchner, former health minister of France and founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres;
- Pascoal Mocumbi, former prime minister of Mozambique;
- Shigeru Omi, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific;
- Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio Gonzalez, who is a trained surgeon;
- Pekka Puska, director-general of Finland's National Public Health Institute;
- Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado Mendez; and
- Tomris Turmen, head of WHO's family and community health division (WHO release, 9/6).
The large number of nominations "reflects the growing importance of global health as a political and economic issue as crises" -- including the HIV/AIDS pandemic -- intensify, according to the Wall Street Journal. The nomination of candidates from China and France is unusual because the five countries that are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council usually do not nominate candidates, some former WHO officials and experts said (McKay, Wall Street Journal, 9/6). The nominees' curricula vitae will be passed around the 192 U.N. member states (U.N. News Service, 9/6). WHO's 34-member executive board then will narrow the list of nominees down to five, interview the remaining candidates and decide on one candidate to propose to a special session of the World Health Assembly meeting on Nov. 9. Anders Nordstrom will continue to serve as acting director-general until a candidate is selected (Engeler, AP/NDTV.com, 9/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.