A new WHO Director General is to be shortly elected

PHM Global Secretariat

30 September 2006
The global and supranational determinants of health have become increasingly important. This makes the performance of global public health institutions of greater significance.

Amongst different global health concerned institutes, the WHO remains the most important for several reasons:

  • While there are many global health institutions, there is only one multilateral institution with the legitimacy and dedicated mandate to specifically promote and protect health - WHO. As the UN's specialist health agency governed by an assembly of all nations, WHO is also important within the broader landscape of emerging structures and systems for global governance. Its role at the global level is analogous to that of Ministries of Health within countries.
  • The historical legacy of WHO and its contribution to the Alma Ata Declaration – a progressive conceptualization of health that remains vital to the needs of billions of people. WHO continues to embody a conception of health embedded in a developmental, human rights and social justice framework that is not always shared by other global health institutions.
  • In addition to this historical legacy, WHO has a proven track record in providing technical leadership on a range of issues that is unsurpassed.
  • The chaotic nature of the global health architecture, caused in part by the proliferation of global health initiatives and global public-private "partnerships", which is undermining a coherent global response to poor health as well as the development of national health systems in many countries. The situation calls out for WHO to bring order to the chaos.

These reasons give an exceptional importance for the position of its “Director General” and accordingly to the process of his/her election.
After passing of late Dr. Lee, the election process for a new WHO’s Director General has already started. Thirteen Candidates has been nominated by their countries.
The PHM, believing in the importance of this position, decided to undergo a process for monitoring the elections. This process entails:

  • Drafting an article illustrating the PHM position from the global health situation as well as the responsibilities of the different global health concerned institutes, among them is the WHO. In addition, the article is summarizing the PHM demands from the coming WHO’s Director General. The article has been submitted to be published in the Lancet Journal.
  • Drafting of key inquiries for the candidates for the position of WHO’s Director General. These inquires are being sent to the candidate.
  • Simultaneously, the PHM represented with its global secretariat and WHO advocacy circle is working on collecting data about the candidates towards reliable profiles.
  • The PHM is going to publish a position paper based on the received answers as well as the collected information.

List of Candidates for the position of WHO’s Director General:
1.Dr. Kazem Behbehani (Kuwait);
2.Dr. Margaret Chan (China);
3.Dr. Julio Frenk (Mexico);
4.Mr. David Gunnarsson (Iceland);
5.Dr. Nay Htun (Myanmar);
6.Dr. Karam Karam (Syria);
7.Dr. Bernard Kouchner (France);
8.Dr. Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi (Mozambique);
9.Dr. Shigeru Omi (Japan);
10.Dr. Alfredo Palacio (Ecuador);
11.Prof. Pekka Puska (proposed by Finland);
12.Ms. Elena Salgado (Spain) and
13.Prof. Dr. Tomris Turmen (Turkey).

PHM Global Secretariat
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