Dr Tedros Adhanom, 4 others emerge top contenders for WHO Director General position

(EBC; January 25, 2017)- The Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has conducted initial screening of the six candidates nominated by Member States.

The board thereafter voted to determine a short list of five candidates, a crucial step toward the election of a new Director-General for WHO.

The shortlisted candidates included Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr Flavia Bustreo, Prof. Philippe Douste-Blazy, Dr David Nabarro and Dr Sania Nishtar.

Members of the executive board will on Jan. 25 conduct interviews and shorten the list to three nominees, by vote.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that names of the successful or final shortlisted candidates will be announced by the Executive Board Chair, Dr Ray Busuttil, later same day.

All Member States will choose among the three nominees by voting at the World Health Assembly that will take place in May 2017.

The new Director-General will take office on July 1, to succeed the current D-G, Dr Margaret Chan.

On the list, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a public health expert, is from Ethopia; he was the Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016.

He is an internationally recognized malaria researcher and has received commendations for a number of "innovative and system-wide health reforms that substantially improved access to health services and key outcomes in Ethopia''.

Dr Flavia Bustreo is the Assistant Director-General, Family, Women's and Children's Health, WHO. She was appointed Assistant Director-General for Family, Women's and Children's Health on Oct. 1, 2010.

She also served as WHO's Deputy Director and Director of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) from 2006 to 2010.

Prof. Philippe Douste-Blazy is a trained cardiologist and a Professor at Paris VII and Harvard universities.

He was a former French Minister of Health and of Foreign Affairs, and is currently the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General.

Dr David Nabarro is a physician and diplomat who currently serves as Special Adviser to the United Nations (UN) Secretary–General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

He is also leading the UN's response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti; he had previously served as the Special Envoy on Ebola.

Dr Sania Nishtar is a Pakistani Cardiologist and also the founder and President of Heartfile, a health information-focused non-governmental organisation, which began in Pakistan in 1999.

She is also founder of Heartfile Health Financing, a programme that uses a customised IT platform and mobile phones to protect poor patients from medical impoverishment or foregoing health care.

Nishtar served as Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology, Education and Trainings, and Information Technology and Telecom during the 2013 caretaker government.