Government Policy

Candidate for WHO chief visits Dhaka

DHAKA, March 14, 2017 (BSS) - Dr David Nabarro, one of three final contendants for the head of the world health organization (WHO), visited Bangladesh this week as part of his global campaign to woo Dhaka to vote for him in the upcoming election for the director general position.

Health ministers of 194 nations will meet for their annual assembly in Geneva in May this year to elect the next director general (DG) of WHO under a new system which allows member states to elect the chief of the organization directly.

Conventionally, the DG of WHO used to get elected by the Executive Board, which this time has shortlisted three candidates instead and put forward their names to the 70th world health assembly, due in May, for the election of the head of the world body through direct votes. The new DG will take office on 1 July 2017.

Dr Sania Nishtar, former health minister of Pakistan, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia are two other candidates for the WHO director general post.

A press release of the British High Commission in Dhaka today said Dr David Nabarro was in Bangladesh this week to meet senior ministers and set out how his vision for an upgraded and reformed WHO will benefit the country.

He met with Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Malek, foreign ministry director general for United Nations desk Sadia Faizunnesa and representatives of some non-government organisations.

"I will rapidly transform how the WHO responds to disease outbreaks and I will prioritise support for lifestyle related diseases," said Dr Nabarro while in Dhaka. "At the heart of my vision is an organisation that ensures people, especially women and children, get the health care they need, when they need it."

He said like the rest of the world, WHO was vital to help meet some challenges here as well, but it urgently needs an upgrade to work better for the people of Bangladesh, a country very familiar to Nabarro who served in Dhaka, Khulna and Mymensigh under Save the Children operations in early eighties. Also he visited Dhaka again in 2010 as UN Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition.

A U.K national, Dr Nabarro has spent over 40 years in international public health as a medical doctor, educator, international public servant and diplomat. He worked in over 50 countries on issues that include Ebola, bird flu, cholera and nutrition.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)