UN health agency accelerates election of new chief setting November timetable

WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib told a news briefing in Geneva that if the agency went by the book, allowing a six-month nomination process, it would take up to one year to elect its new chief.But the Board decided that it would nominate a new Director-General in a meeting from 6 to 8 November, followed by a one-day special session of the World Health Assembly on 9 November to vote on the appointment.Pressing tasks facing the new Director-General will include not only long-standing campaigns such as the battles to control HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis but also the newly emerging threat of a flu pandemic, possibly linked the current outbreak of bird flu. Acting Director-General Anders Nordström, who will continue in office until the election, will notify Member States that they may propose candidates from 1 June. Proposals will be accepted by WHO until 5 September, and the agency’s secretariat will dispatch these to Member States within a month from that date.

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