The election of the next world health organization director-general explained to a visitor from mars

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Abstract

In less than a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) will have a new director-general. The highest global public health job will go to a person nominated by a country or a group of countries and “elected” in a secret vote by the representatives of the 194 member states of the WHO. A visitor arriving from Mars would probably find this process strange: the most demanding position in global health, in technical and managerial terms, will go to the best politically connected applicant.
The process of selection is presented as transparent, thanks to new procedures, such as the adoption of a code of conduct for candidates and their supporters, and open discussions of the “program” of the candidates who will make the short list. In the end, however, each member state will vote secretly, which opens the door to behind-the-door negotiations and deal-making. Our alien visitor also may find it odd that candidates are invited to express their “vision of priorities and strategies for the WHO,” when one would expect the WHO to define a mandate and ask candidates to show their capacity to fulfill it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1908-1909
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume106
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

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