Editorial Discusses Campaign For Next WHO Director General; DG Candidates Discuss Their Visions For WHO

The Lancet: WHO: Director General campaign closes amid anxiety and hope
Editorial Board

“…The election [for next WHO director general] comes at a time of unparalleled uncertainty for WHO. … At this juncture in the history of WHO it feels right that there are two candidates from low- and middle-income countries, and one a woman. … Each candidate has strengths. And each has weaknesses. … To achieve genuine internal reforms and to restore public confidence might seem to favor Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus] and [Sania] Nishtar. The complex management and diplomacy requirements could favor [David] Nabarro. The new campaign process has succeeded in enhancing transparency about the qualities and attributes of the candidates. But, as in any election, unpredictability reigns. We encourage member states to vote for the candidate who they believe mixes proven managerial competence with a clear and deliverable vision for WHO’s next five years. No empty promises. Just realizable results. And, perhaps most importantly, someone with the skills to handle the unexpected” (5/20).

BMJ Blog: David Nabarro: The WHO must change, and I am the right person to deliver that change
David Nabarro, candidate for next WHO director general

“…With variable climates, war, and changing lifestyles putting pressure on health, this election could not come at a more critical time. The WHO must be there to help with these challenges, but to do it effectively, it needs an upgrade and as director general I will deliver the much-needed reforms. … Throughout my career I have traversed a huge range of complex and technical health challenges. … WHO must change the way it manages health emergencies, as a matter of urgency. … I am the best person to deliver that change. … I have worked in global health for over 40 years, from roles in senior leadership, to working as a clinician, and as an educator. I know how to lead in the multilateral system, I know the issues at a local level, and I understand the science that must underpin decisions. That is why I am in this race. I think the WHO must change, and I am the right person to deliver that change” (5/19).

BMJ Blog: Sania Nishtar: Delivering the WHO that we need
Sania Nishtar, candidate for next WHO director general

“…[M]y vision for a new WHO focuses on the need for WHO to reclaim its primacy and regain the world’s trust as its lead health agency. I stand on record as a builder and reformer and someone who has demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability. I will accelerate meaningful reform of the organization, build its foundations, and prioritize its core and exclusive mandates. … To truly contribute to the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] and fulfill its mandate, there is need for a change in mindset and capacity to usher in a new leadership paradigm where WHO will lead through convening and forging partnerships, recognizing the need to work with all stakeholders without vilification, but with transparency and accountability. … Urgent reform is now an imperative — it is underway, but at a fragile stage in its progress. By supporting my candidacy, member states will be casting their vote for reform, transparency, and accountability, and an earnest desire for change” (5/19).

BMJ Blog: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Let’s prove the impossible is possible
Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus, candidate for next WHO director general

“…If I am elected director general, achieving universal health coverage will be my top priority, because I believe it is the best overall investment in health we can make. … I think we should be unapologetically ambitious in the objectives we set because people around the world matter far too much to think on a small scale. Furthermore, the challenges we face today — including achieving universal health coverage, managing the triple burden of communicable and non-communicable disease, combined with health emergencies, and addressing the health effects of climate change — require bold action. … With the Sustainable Development Goals giving us mandate to aim for universal health coverage, we have an opportunity to make progress on health equity the likes of which we could have only dreamt about 20 or 30 years ago. That is why I want to lead the WHO — to relentlessly work toward a world in which every individual can lead a healthy and productive life, regardless of who they are or where they live” (5/19).

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