Outbreaks of Cholera and Ebola as Race for WHO Chief Gets Nasty

Candidates for the next WHO director-general: David Nabarro, Sania Nishtar and Tedros Adhanom


May 16, 2017 – Next week delegates will gather for the World Health Assembly and vote for a new director-general of the World Health Organization.

The election comes at a time when WHO are dealing with a cholera outbreak in Yemen that risks spreading quickly due to the dire humanitarian crisis there already and the reemergence of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Pakistan’s Sania Nishtar, UK’s David Nabarro and Ethiopia’s Tedros Anhanom are the three vying for the post and this week the race hardened with accusations that Nabarro is running a smear campaign and is also using UN and WHO staff on his campaign, contravening the code of conduct for WHO’s election process.

The charge comes from Mukesh Kapila, a professor of global health at the University of Manchester in England. Kapila tweeted photos of what he says are leaked communications from Nabarro’s team. One of the recipients in a January email from Nabarro to his “Support Team” is Laurence Gostin, a professor of global health at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

The spark for Kapila to make the charge against Nabarro and his team is that Gostin was quoted as the source for an article in the New York Times this week accusing Tedros of covering up cholera outbreaks when he was Ethiopia’s health minister.

Gostin told the paper he went public to protect WHO and that his intervention was not authorized by Nabarro, who also said he did not authorize the release of the accusations.

Kapila has also retweeted several tweets supportive of Tedros’s campaign.

The new director-general will take the reins on July 1 when current DG, China’s Margaret Chan, steps down.

– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz

Related: Replacing Vaerie Amos: Political Appointment or Merit Based?

  • Alem

    Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s bid is supported by “the Ethiopian and a solidarity of East African governments.” So far Dr. Tedros has refused to make public his funding size and who the “East African governments” are.

    Dr. Tedros was appointed to lead the nation’s Health two years after getting his doctorate in Community Health with no prior experience or requisite qualification. He was appointed to the post solely on the basis of his ethnicity and as a central committee member of the hated and brutal Ethiopia’s ruling party. His tenure at Health was racked by massive corruption and politicization of the system. For example, following the 2005 election that dealt a blow to his party a “health tech” program was quickly initiated with aid money to fan out the “techs” to rural areas to provide services as well as report on those who voted for opposition parties. Tedros was later appointed to Foreign Office though he never was trained as a diplomat [and there were many better qualified] and his only experience being his five-year stay as a student in the the UK. I hope this helps.

    In regard to his record I want you to check two items. This is all in public domain and will take no more than three minutes to verify. In 2013 there was a massive deportation from Saudi of Ethiopian maids [over 150,000 of them] following rapes, tortures and cheating them of their wages. Check Al Jazeera archives and you will see Dr. Tedros defending Saudi action to the great horror of Ethiopians [though he later tried to retract his statements]. The young women upon return were rounded up into a camp and not heard from since then.

    A hint. Everything we know about Dr. Tedros is provided us by his party [the only party in the country] and repackaged by a US-based PR agency at a cost running into tens of thousands. There is virtually no free press in Ethiopia. So we now have a “compassionate and effective” manager that is opposite of the real Tedros. Did you know the UN Human Rights Office is currently demanding [but being refused] to investigate the killings in 2016 alone of over 1,000 Ethiopians and jailing of 26,000 for protesting the forceful eviction off their ancestral land for ruling party developers and their foreign investor allies?

    The world community deserves a fair and accurate information in weighty decisions that affects its well-being.

  • Samson Welkait Amhara

    adhanom is genocide criminal