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Margaret Chan steps down, voting for new WHO Director-General today

Close to 200 countries will vote for WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s successor at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

health Updated: May 23, 2017 13:07 IST
WHO,WHO director-General Election,World Health Assembly Geneva
Voting for a new WHO Director-General to begin at the World Health Assembly in Geneva today (May 23).(WHO)

Election of new Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) will take place on Tuesday afternoon at the World Health Assembly that opened in Geneva on Monday, May 22.

One hundred ninety four countries that are part of WHO vote to elect a new Director-General, who will take office for a five-year term, starting on July 1, 2017.

The three shortlisted for the position, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia; Dr David Nabarro of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Dr Sania Nishtar of Pakistan, will each address the Health Assembly for 15 minutes in the afternoon.

The election is through a secret ballot.

Nearly 3500 delegates from WHO’s 194 member states, including a large proportion of the world’s health ministers, are participating in the health assembly that ends on 31 May.

The focus of the debate is to look for ways to advance the 2030 agenda and build better systems for health.

Among the topics under discussion include WHO’s response to health emergencies, the international health regulations, and pandemic influenza preparedness.

Polio, antimicrobial resistance; access to medicines and vaccines; improving vector control; adolescent health and dementia and cancer among noncommunicable diseases will also be deliberated upon in the assembly.

Out-going WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, addressed the assembly one last time, and stressed the importance of continued innovation, reducing inequalities and protecting scientific evidence.

“Meeting the ambitious targets in the Sustainable Development Goals depends on innovation,” she said.

First Published: May 23, 2017 13:07 IST