Next WHO Director General Must Have Strong Moral Values, Ability To Transform, Lead Agency

The Guardian: We need a revolution in mindsets at the top of the World Health Organization
Mukesh Kapila, professor of global health and humanitarian affairs at the University of Manchester

“…Who will become WHO’s next [director general (DG)]? 194 countries, meeting as the World Health Assembly in Geneva in late May, will decide from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, David Nabarro of the United Kingdom, and Sania Nishtar of Pakistan. All are well-qualified. More important are the differences that reveal their personal fitness for the top job. Who will transform WHO and not just navigate it better? The main determinants of population health are social and political, and the health struggle is too important to be left to technical experts. … A trustworthy director general is a sine qua non. They must have strong moral values, and demonstrated the courage of having lived them without fear or favor. The DG is required to stand up to vested interests and confront tough dilemmas consistently. They must know the fine dividing line between pragmatic expediency and cowardice. The electors of the DG should be wary of anyone who promises quick technical fixes to ‘make WHO great again.’ It is the personal character of the new leader that will ultimately determine whether the organization can renew its moral and practical purpose and give us the WHO we need” (5/9).

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