Report prepared by Aletha Wallace, Linda Shuro and Amit Sengupta The meeting began with a briefing session on the election of the Director-General and a detailed description of the voting process. The next item was the adoption of the agenda. Thailand insisted and got approval for inclusion of ‘physical activity’.
Call for discussion on UN High Level Panel Report on Access to Medicines Rejected
“Where there are gaps, we must point them out”*, and since we particularly mind the gap in HR principles when found at the ‘top’ of global institutions, this blog points to a few of the holes in the positions of the three candidates for the post of Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The process to select the next Director General of WHO is well underway, with the initial field of six candidates now reduced to three nominees. The WHO Executive Board has just selected the following 3 candidates to be presented to World Health Assembly.
• Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
• Dr David Nabarro
• Dr Sania Nishtar
All WHO Member States will choose among the 3 nominees by vote at the World Health Assembly in May 2017. The new Director-General will take office on 1 July 2017.
Around the world, the ‘bottom-billion’ struggle daily just to survive. We know all too well the realities of being ‘left-behind’ that those that don’t have to struggle call the social determinants of health. As poor people living with life-threatening diseases or disabilities, dependent on our local public health system, our health and well-being is also determined by WHO decisions and policies that guide national programmes. However, the decision-makers are too far removed from our realities to realise that their top-down programmes do not serve those they are aimed at serving – those most affected by health inequities.
Although the most affected do not have any influence or say in the WHO Director-General selection process, it’s essential to learn more about the positions of the candidates for this job at the top of global health. In a very useful study recently published in The Lancet, ‘WHOse agenda for WHOm?’, Kent Buse, Iwan Williams, and Sarah Hawkes analysed the manifestos of the six initial candidates for Director-General of WHO. We have extracted a small portion of their study to see what the remaining three candidates think on two areas that are important to us — principles and ways of working. A quick look at this table provides an idea of the stated commitments of Dr. Tedros, Dr. Nabarro and Dr. Nishtar.
Clearly, this extract is just a small slice of some two dozen issues that the study looked at. Yet it indicates a number of gaps and weak points in their positions which we believe they, one of whom will be the next Director-General of WHO, must be made aware of, and pressed to act upon. Accordingly, we will be writing the candidates in the coming days, and hopefully we will have a response — although we have learned not to try to hold our breath while waiting. You can follow and join this dialogue via #WHO4ALL on Twitter.