Opinion Pieces Suggest Priorities For New WHO Director General

STAT: New WHO leader should focus on the crushing burden of noncommunicable diseases and injuries
Gene Bukhman, cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, director of the Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, and co-chair of The Lancet Commission on Reframing Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries for the Poorest Billion; and Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, author, and a member of The Lancet Commission

“…As practitioners and advocates for improving the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, we applaud Tedros and WHO for their commitment to assuring universal health coverage for all. At the same time, we want to call his attention to a critical gap in the global agenda for health equity and universal health coverage — the crushing but largely overlooked burden of noncommunicable diseases and injuries on the world’s poorest people and communities. … To provide a holistic offering that addresses the noncommunicable diseases and injuries of people living in poverty as a key to achieving universal health coverage, the organization will need to streamline and strengthen its capacity to develop guidelines for a number of the conditions that specifically cause excess mortality among people living in poverty, which it currently lacks. In addition, it should adapt its technical assistance strategy to support country-based priority-setting processes and not assume that globally produced, one-size-fits-all templates will be sufficient…” (7/5).

Huffington Post: The Right Person at the Right Time for Global Health
Mark Dybul, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Global Health and Quality at Georgetown University

“…Tedros is among the most visionary leaders and capable managers I have ever met. … [As Ethiopia’s minister of health, Tedros] succeeded for two fundamental reasons: he set a clear direction with goals and accountability, adjusting as the data on the ground required, and; he rapidly reorganized, reformed, and repopulated the ministry. … The vast experience, expertise, and skill the new director general has honed over a highly successful career of public service will be needed to build on Dr. Chan’s advances to transform WHO. … When a new leader takes over, especially in an international organization of more than 190 member states, there is a tendency for everyone to provide their view of what should be done and who should be hired. It is my great hope that we will all resist that temptation, step back, recognize that a highly transparent process selected a tremendous leader with vision who is also a great manager, and give him space to do what he has done so well for so long: be a spectacularly successful transformational leader” (7/3).

The Guardian: Six jobs the new World Health Organization leader should prioritize
Mukesh Kapila, professor of global health and humanitarian affairs at the University of Manchester

“…[Tedros’s] election signals a changed global mood. … Faced with many more borderless health threats including climate change and, with increasing discontent fueled by widening global health inequalities, they voted for change. But will Tedros be the change the troubled global health body needs? He has declared health to be a basic human right and said: ‘All roads lead to universal health coverage. Because UHC means leaving no one behind.’ If he wants to have a real impact though, the following should be on his to do list: Promote home-grown national solutions … Remember WHO does not have a monopoly on health wisdom … Hire diverse talent … But don’t get bogged down in internal reform … Look beyond traditional thought leaders … Accept WHO has to live with its means … He has fired-up the hopes and imaginations of people worldwide. He must not let them down. Acting boldly and quickly according to his own moral values will be the best guarantee of that” (7/1).

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