The new Director General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) will soon be elected. If the upcoming election does not effectively hold to account all candidates, especially the successful one, the WHO risks losing its influence as the leading global public health authority.
On May 23, 2017, for the first time in WHO’s history, all 194 Member States of its governing body, the World Health Assembly, will cast a vote for the new WHO DG at its annual meeting in Geneva. (Previously, the DG was selected by the WHO's 34-member Executive Board.)
But, public health challenges are too great to allow the vote to descend into geo-political horse-trading and unchallenged controversy-dodging in an environment where opportunities for public vetting are few.
The WHO DG is head of a global staff of 7,000 and chief global ambassador to national health ministries world-wide. The WHO’s prominence and the need for its leadership in global public health have long been greatest in low- and middle-income countries where national health systems suffer a relative lack of financial resources and specialized technical expertise. But high-income countries draw on the WHO’s work, ranging from graded distillations of nutrition and alcohol research to annual advice about the best flu vaccine to administer globally.
The three candidates shortlisted for the position of DG have been persistently ambiguous about their stances on important governance issues. ...continue reading →
Joanne Reeveis an Associate Clinical Professor in Primary Care at Warwick Medical School in the UK, and the Chair of the Society for Academic Primary Care
A recent editors' blog by Domhnall MacAuley suggested that it is “difficult to see a future for academic general practice.” I propose that the solution lies in the broader discipline of Academic Primary Care (APC).
Academic Primary Care matters. APC is a distinct discipline driving improvement in primary care through education and research. Academic general practice lies at the heart of this wider multidisciplinary community committed to improving whole-person centred primary health care. The APC community lead health service research driving improvements in policy and practice in key priority areas such as antibiotic stewardship and cardiovascular risk management. But APC also tackles the distinct challenges facing the Primary Care community: for example, the need for new person-centred models of acute and chronic care to address problems of treatment burden and ‘too much medicine’. APC supports the redesign of Primary Care through re-engaging with the core principles of continuous, comprehensive, accessible, whole person-centred care. ...continue reading →
Today, February 27th 2015, marks the tenth anniversary of the coming into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (#FCTC10). To mark the historic treaty's first decade the WHO's Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, gave an address in which she called the FCTC the 'single most powerful preventive instrument available to public health'. She wasn't exaggerating. I'll tell you why.
The FCTC was the first, and remains the only, legallybinding multilateral agreement ratified by WHO member states. Most of WHO's directives are delivered with the all the authority of a global governance institution but with none of the legal teeth that multilateral trade agreements, for example, enjoy. ...continue reading →
The aim is to highlight the need to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of heath care worldwide. Why? As this (slightly UK-focused) video from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine elegantly illustrates ...continue reading →
What separates a good idea from an amazing one? A TEDMED2014 session I live streamed Wednesday provided plenty of clues. Although the speakers came from widely diverse backgrounds, ranging from journalism to ocean swimming, three strong threads – simplicity, specificity and daring – bound together the lessons they shared.
“Flat Out Amazing” ideas, it seems, start from simple answers to complex questions. Take the single-use syringe, for example ...continue reading →