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Ethiopia's top diplomat in race to be next World Health Organization chief

Ethiopia's top diplomat in race to be next World Health Organization chief


Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia is the sole African in line to become the next Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Tedros will compete with five other candidates proposed by Member States of the WHO for the position. The election of a new WHO boss has been necessitated by the imminent exit of Margaret Chan, the current DG.

Other member states proposed the following candidates along with Dr Tedros:

  • The Government of Italy has submitted the nomination of Dr Flavia Bustreo;
  • The Government of France has submitted the nomination of Professor Philippe Douste-Blazy;
  • The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has submitted the nomination of Dr David Nabarro;
  • The Government of Pakistan has submitted the nomination of Dr Sania Nishtar;
  • The Government of Hungary has submitted the nomination of Dr Miklós Szócska.

The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer and oversees the organization’s international health work. The current Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, was appointed  in 2006 and will complete her second term on 30 June next year.

Between 1-2 November, a forum will be held for candidates to present their visions to WHO member states, and the public, and to answer questions from member states on their candidacy.

The deadline for proposals closed on Thursday 22 September 2016. Since 22 April 2016, WHO’s 194 member states have had the opportunity to propose candidates.

Early next year, WHO’s Executive Board will draw up a shortlist with a maximum of 5 candidates. Executive Board members will then interview these candidates and nominate 3 to go forward for consideration by the World Health Assembly in May 2017, when Member States will vote in a new Director-General. The new Director-General will take office on 1 July 2017.

Previously, just 1 nomination was submitted by the Executive Board to the World Health Assembly, which then made the final appointment.

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