Nine Candidates Proposed For WHO Director General Position 31/08/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen The 5 September deadline to fill the top leadership post at the World Health Organization (WHO) is drawing nearer and at least eight candidates have been put forward, of which six are from developing countries and two are women. The formal list of the candidates will be published on 6 September, a WHO spokesperson told Intellectual Property Watch. After the death in May of former WHO Director General Lee Jong-wook, member countries were asked to propose candidates for the position by 5 September. Member countries then will have the opportunity to reflect on the candidates, and a short list will be discussed at an executive board meeting on 6-8 November. The final candidate will be chosen by an extraordinary General Assembly meeting on 9 November, according to the WHO. The WHO spokesperson confirmed, however, that China has put forward Margaret Chan from Hong Kong. As is the procedure, she has stepped down from her WHO position, at least while the campaign and election is going on, the source said. David Heymann, who used to be acting assistant director-general for communicable diseases at the WHO, has replaced Chan as assistant director general of communicable diseases and Keiji Fukuda, formerly acting director global influenza programme, is now head of avian influenza issues at the WHO, the source said. Other candidates for the director general position are: Kazem Behbehani from Kuwait, who has been assistant director general external relations and governing bodies at the WHO until he became a candidate for the DG position; Julio Frenk from Mexico, currently minister of public health and who also ran for the director general post last time and has worked for the WHO; and Alfredo Palacio Gonzáles from Ecuador, who is currently the country’s president. Bolivia, Brazil and Chile have expressed support for this candidate, according to sources. Bolivia and Brazil are the only South American countries represented at the WHO Executive Board. In addition there are: David Gunnarsson from Iceland, secretary of the health and social security ministry and who has represented the Nordic countries at the WHO Executive Board until recently; Shigeru Omi from Japan, who until recently was regional director of the Western Pacific regional office of the WHO but who has taken a three to four month leave; Pekka Puska from Finland, who is currently director general of the Finnish National Public Health Institute but who worked on noncommunicable diseases at the WHO from 2001 to 2003; Tomris Türman from Turkey, who worked as an executive director for family and community heath at the WHO until recently; and possibly one candidate from Africa, sources say, but this was not confirmed at press time. Some sources said earlier this summer that Türman also was a candidate from the WHO secretariat to lead a new intergovernmental working group on innovation, public health and intellectual property, but she denied this (IPW, Public Health, 25 July 2006). Some sources argue that as the rotation as Secretary General of the United Nations should go to an Asian candidate after Kofi Annan, whose term ends on 31 December, it is not likely that an Asian candidate will also lead the WHO. Others argue that as Gro Harlem Brundtland from Norway was director general before Lee, the position should not go to a Nordic country again. But one Nordic source pointed out that both Dr. Lee and the Japanese candidate were from Asia. Frenk was in Geneva during some days until the evening of 30 August. A flyer for his campaign that he has handed out, and that has been posted on the government’s website, states that: “Health is a foundation for equitable and sustainable development, health is a source of global security”, and “heath is a model for reform of the multilateral system.” Another source close to one of the candidates said that most of the candidates had been busy traveling this summer visiting governments as part of the election. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at email@example.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Nine Candidates Proposed For WHO Director General Position" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.