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Opinion Pieces Discuss Election Of, Highlight Issues To Be Addressed By Next WHO Director General

Foreign Policy: Who’s Going to Be the Next Leader of WHO?
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…This week, the Donald Trump administration will send a delegation to Geneva, casting its first U.N. leadership votes and weighing in on a long roster of reforms and controversies slated for debate in the 70th World Health Assembly. … It is widely assumed, though not confirmed by HHS, that the [U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price] will cast his first vote for Britain’s David Nabarro, reflecting the Trump administration’s warm relationship with the post-Brexit government of Prime Minister Theresa May. It is also widely believed that the Barack Obama administration backed a different candidate, Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus … While most observers give [Pakistan’s Sania] Nishtar little chance of defeating Nabarro or Tedros, there is a good possibility neither man will claim a 60 percent majority in the first round, freeing the process for some wild hallway horse-trading. I would hope that Nishtar’s transparency policies, commitment to NGOs and civil society, and her willingness to serve a single term might then prevail. Perhaps some of the 194 voters might then recall that the greatest leader WHO ever had, Gro Harlem Brundtland, brought the institution back from another existential moment because she, too, insisted on serving a single term” (5/22).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: New World Health Organization head must act on climate
Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association; Gemechis Mamo Fetene, president of the Ethiopian Medical Association; and S.M.Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association Centre

“…The [WHO’s] work has never been easy and the challenges always great, but the WHO’s job will be made harder still by the growing threat and worsening impacts of climate change. … Over the years and more recently under the leadership of Margaret Chan, the WHO has worked to better understand how climate change threatens public health. Chan called climate change ‘the defining issue of the 21st Century.’ The next director general must build on this legacy and do more, by increasing funding to help countries and health systems respond to climate change, and better integrating climate concerns throughout all the WHO’s programs. … [C]limate change threatens to undermine the fundamental determinants of public health, and will exacerbate many of the health challenges the WHO faces. No country — high, middle, or low income, developed or developing — is immune to the impacts. … The WHO has come a long way in its role on climate change, and has been a global leader in recognizing the threats that a hotter, wetter, and more volatile planet poses to public health. The next director-general must build on this progress, while doing even more to ensure that partners are prepared to protect public health in a warmer, wetter, more dangerous world” (5/23).

The Hill: World Health Organization needs new leadership for a changing world
Ian Scott, executive director of the Emerging Markets Symposium at the University of Oxford

“…The new director general will have to drive serious structural reforms to enable the organization to regain its position as the preeminent global authority on health. One major change in the last several years has been the rise of emerging markets. These countries include Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa (known as the BRICS), and several other countries around the world. What is particularly interesting in the context of global health is their shared challenges and their potential to reshape the development landscape. … To support emerging market countries, indeed all countries, in attaining the highest level of health possible, dramatic reforms at WHO are both necessary and urgent. … As I consider the emerging market countries and their role in global health, I am reminded of the significance of the decision facing all countries on their choice of a new leader for the WHO. I urge all countries to consider selecting Dr. Sania Nishtar of Pakistan for this incredibly important position. … Her honesty, integrity, and passion would help accelerate the reforms the organization desperately needs…” (5/22).

Devex: Opinion: Factory farming is a global crisis. The next WHO director general must address it.
Scott Weathers, master of science candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an associate project director at Charity Science: Health, and Sophie Hermanns, Ph.D. candidate at Cambridge and a visiting fellow at Harvard

“…At last year’s World Health Assembly, Director-General Margaret Chan highlighted three ‘slow motion’ disasters of central importance to global health: Climate change, antibiotic resistance, and the rise of non-communicable diseases. Factory farming is central to all three of these disasters. In an open letter signed by over 200 of the world’s foremost experts in medicine, public health, biology, environmental science, ethics, and moral philosophy, we ask the next director general of the WHO to acknowledge the harms that factory farming inflicts on global health and to take action to mitigate them. … The extent to which factory farming is prioritized among a variety of important issues will come down to the next director general. … As a new director general takes the helm, we encourage them to consider a set of sensible policies to mitigate the harms that factory farming presents to global health” (5/22).

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