Three key global health posts are to be filled later this year, and the individuals selected to fill the vacancies will help shape the global strategy to combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the Wall Street Journal reports. The World Health Organization is seeking a new director general after Lee Jong-wook, who held the position, died in May; the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is seeking a replacement for Executive Director Richard Feachem, who will step down in January; and the World Bank is seeking a new senior vice president for its human development network after the incumbent retired this year. The vacancies come at a time when global health crises are increasing and private organizations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and government programs, such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, "have shifted the balance of power in public health," the Journal reports. According to some public health experts, strong leaders need to fill the vacancies to help coordinate the efforts of the growing number of organizations focusing on public health issues. Experts say the Global Fund in particular needs a leader with solid managerial skills who also is adept at raising funds (McKay, Wall Street Journal, 9/5).
WHO Position Details
According to Agence France-Presse, candidates for the WHO position include Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, the agency's assistant director-general of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; Kazem Behbehani, the agency's deputy director; Margaret Chan, a former health director from Hong Kong and WHO's top infectious disease official; Roll Back Malaria Partnership Executive Secretary Awa Marie Coll-Seck; Mexican Health Minister Julio Frenk; David Gunnarson, an Icelandic senior health minister; Lebanese Health Minister Karam Karam; former Mozambican Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi; Shigero Omi, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific; Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio, who is a trained surgeon; Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado; Pekka Puska, a Finnish health minister; and Tomris Turmen, head of WHO's family and community health division. The deadline for nominations for the position is midnight on Tuesday. U.N. leadership generally rotates among continents, and Asian countries might expect a candidate from their region to fill the WHO post because Lee's term was not completed, according to Agence France-Presse. Some diplomatic sources say the position might not go to a candidate from Asia because an Asian leader is expected to replace Kofi Annan as U.N. secretary-general. After the nominations deadline, WHO's executive committee of 34 nations will narrow down the list and present its choice to the World Health Assembly meeting, which is scheduled for November (Agence France-Presse, 9/4).
Global Fund, World Bank Positions
The list of candidates for the Global Fund position has been drawn up by the executive search firm Odgers Ray and Berndtson, which has collected 334 applications. A committee of Global Fund directors on Tuesday was scheduled to draw up a list of 20 candidates from the firm's list. The committee is scheduled to interview candidates from Sept. 18 through Sept. 19 and narrow the list of candidates down to five to be considered by the full board. A decision is expected in November. The selection process aims to eliminate the politics involved with some appointments for international organizations, according to the Financial Times. An editorial in the Sept. 2 edition of the Lancet criticizes the selection process, saying it contradicts the Global Fund's belief in transparency, accountability and independence. According to Global AIDS Alliance Executive Director Paul Zeitz, "It is critical this (candidate) pool includes a diverse range of competent candidates, including women and people from developing countries" (Jack, Financial Times, 9/4). It is not known when the World Bank position will be filled, although a search for a candidate has begun, according to a bank spokesperson (Wall Street Journal, 9/5).
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