Pakistan's former health minister among top contenders for WHO chief post

The director general is the WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer, and oversees international health work


News Desk September 26, 2016
Dr Nishtar is one of only two women in the running. PHOTO: TWITTER

Pakistan's former health minister Dr Sania Nishtar is among six candidates nominated for the post of World Health Organisation chief.

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Dr Nishtar is one of only two women in the running for the post. In addition to being the founder and president of Heartfile, a health think tank, and co-chair of the WHO’s commission on ending childhood obesity, Nishtar was formerly a federal minister. She is the only candidate with a website devoted exclusively to her bid.

Six candidates are in the running for the post. Other than Nishtar, the candidates nominated for the position are Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy of France, a former health and foreign minister, Italy’s Dr Flavia Bustreo – currently the WHO’s assistant director general for family, Hungary’s former minister of health, the UK’s Dr David Nabarro, a sustainable development adviser to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, Dr Miklós Szócska Ethiopia’s foreign minister – and former health minister – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu.

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“The next DG has a narrow window in which to change the narrative about the WHO,” said Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and co-author of a report calling for urgent reform within the agency. “It has become an organisation that, when faced with real challenges, cannot perform.”

“The world needs an effective WHO – there’s no way around that,” he added. “There are things only the WHO can do. Instead of thinking about creating entities that will fill in the gaps, it is in our interest to make sure the WHO can fill those gaps itself.”

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The director general is the WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer, and oversees the organisation’s international health work. The successful candidate will take office in July 2017 and replace the incumbent Dr Margaret Chan, who has held the position since 2006.

This article originally appeared on Guardian.

COMMENTS (6)

Shahid Hussain Raja | 4 years ago | Reply I have the honour of working with her as a colleague on the Board of Islamabad Electricity Distribution Company. What a marvellous person she is. Very passionate about health issues of the general public,meticulous and hardworking,she would be an asst for the WHO
Pakistani With Voice | 4 years ago | Reply @Voiceless Pakistani: You may as well add Ignorant to your Psedounym. While i agree a Lot of Country's politician are corrupt but Dr Sania Nishtar is a beacon of Hope ... she was a Minister in a Care-taking govt set up (not affiliated to ANY political party) .. She was instrumental is establishing Modern Setup of Ministry of Health. She refused pay and benefits, and Published Paper based on her experience and work as a Minister once the tenure was over. she has Worked SIGNIFICANTLY in and out of Pakistan and a little google of her name should help you in this regard. !
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