Special Adviser to Indonesian Minister of Health Moderated WHO Director General Candidate Debate
Geneva, March 6, 2017 – Ibu Diah Saminarsih, Special Adviser to Indonesian Minister of Health who also happens to be the Founder of CISDI,  moderated WHO Director General Candidate Debate on Monday, March 6, 2017 at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Ibu Diah alongside Andrew Jack –Head of Curated Content and Editor of the Financial Times, acted as moderators to further probe the perspectives of the three WHO DG Candidates –Dr. Sania Nishtar of Pakistan, Dr. David Nabarro of Britain, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia.

Throughout the discussion, each candidates highlighted different priorities to be implemented once they took office as WHO Director General in July 2017. The discussion, broadcasted live on webcast, has been organized by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, in cooperation with the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. This was part of the process of selecting new Director General expected to take over the baton of leadership from Margaret Chan, the current WHO Director General who has almost completed her two-term leadership.

Here is a brief profile on WHODG candidates:

Dr. Sania Nishtar (Pakistan)

Dr. Sania Nishtar is a cardiologist by training; former Federal Minister, Government of Pakistan  with portfolios on education and training, science and technology, information technology and telecommunications, health (2013); also the Founder and President of Heartfile, an NGO focusing on health policy in Pakistan. Until now, she also serves as member of Pakistan’s National Commisision on Science and Technology, member board of Governors for the Benazir Income Support Program, member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, member of Economic Advisory Council for the Ministry of Finance, Member Advisory Committee on Planning Commission, and Member Advisory Committee on Federal Tax Ombudsman. Those experiences have uniquely positioned Dr. Nishtar as one of the strongest WHO Director General Candidates. She believed that WHO, as the largest international health organization, has been highly expected to mitigate health problems but was facing financial uncertainty. Therefore she was looking forward to implement financial sustainability. 

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia)

Eventhough Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the only non-physician in the panel of candidate, he previously served as the former Minister of Health in Ethiopia (2005-2012) and Malaria researcher. He was also the Chair for Programme Coordinating Board for the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS in 2010 and the Co-Chair, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (2005-2009). He believed that WHO needed to focus more on Universal Healthcare, emergency preparedness, climate change, as well as the health of women, children & adolescent. He also sees organizational transformation mandatory for WHO to achieve its goals. 

Dr. David Nabarro (United Kingdom)

Dr. David Nunes Nabarro is a medical doctor with years of experience working on child health and nutrition programmes. Previously served as Special Adviser to UN Secretary General on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, and Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary for Food Security and Nutrition, Dr. Nabarro realized that politics of health will heavily influence the equity of accessing healthcare. Hence, he believed that the next WHO DG would be expected to explore spaces and options through which civil society could be more engaged in health policy. 

WHO’s position as the global organization for health gives both strategic and political impacts to all countries under its cooperation, including for Indonesia. As one of the developing countries with various health challenges occurred, Indonesia’s collaboration with WHO is imperative so we could gather different perspectives to address the challenges. 
May the next WHO Director General brings new hope to the health development in every corner of the world.

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