GENEVA: Dr Sania Nishtar, Pakistan’s former minister who is best known for her bold and transformational leadership in health, is a prominent candidate for Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Six candidates are in the running to take over the helm of the World Health Organization, including the Ethiopian foreign minister who is bidding to be the first African to hold the position, the UN agency said Friday.
Pakistan has proposed Sania Nishtar – one of only two women on the list – to replace Margaret Chan, who will step down next June after 11 years in the role, while France has thrown its weight behind former health minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.
The other woman is Flavia Bustreo, who was proposed by Italy and who is currently serving as WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health.
Another insider is David Nabarro, who among other things organised the UN’s response to the west African Ebola epidemic in 2014, and who was proposed by Britain.
Hungary has put forward former health minister Miklos Szocska.
WHO said a shortlist of three would be presented in May at the agency’s annual World Health Assembly, which will make the final appointment.
The WHO is a vast UN agency with an annual budget of 4.4 billion dollars (3.9 billion euros) that is responsible for coordinating global emergencies and raising awareness about health issues from pollution to tropical diseases.
The new Director General will take the helm of the organisation on July 1. –Samaa/AFP