terça-feira, novembro 07, 2006

Tempo de eleições para o novo dono da saúde mundial :o)

Dr LEE Jong-wook, former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), died suddenly on 22 May 2006, two years before the end of his five-year term. As a result, the WHO Executive Board decided to accelerate the process to elect a new Director-General.

The election of the WHO Director-General is taking place in Geneva from 6-9 November 2006.
The WHO Executive Board (EB) will meet from 6 to 8 November at WHO Headquarters and will nominate a person for the post of Director-General.

On 9 November 2006, the World Health Assembly will meet at the United Nations Palais des Nations Assembly Hall for a special session.

The World Health Assembly will consider the nomination of the Director-General at a private meeting and shall come to a decision through a secret ballot.

The countries represented on the current EB are: Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Djibouti, El Salvador, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Thailand, Turkey and the United States of America.

Candidates for the post of Director-General

The names, in English alphabetical order, and titles of the candidates shortlisted by the Executive Board for the post of Director-General on 6 November 2006 are as follows:

Dr Kazem Behbehani

Dr Margaret Chan

Dr Julio Frenk

Dr Shigeru Omi

Ms Elena Salgado Méndez

Mais informações e noticias frescas sobre o assunto estão disponíveis através do link: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2006/dgelection/en/index.html

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World news

Margaret Chan from China arrives for a hearing about her candidacy for the post of the WHO Director-General during the second day of the WHO Executive Board at the World Health Organization, WHO, headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. From Nov. 6 until Nov. 8, 2006 the executive board meets in Geneva to decide on candidates, to interview them and then vote to propose a candidate to the World Health Assembly. In a special session on Nov. 9, 2006 the assembly will consider the board's nomination and will appoint a new director general to succeed late Lee Jong-Wook. (AP Photo/Keystone/Laurent Gillieron)

Nov. 7, 2006, 3:22PM
U.S. under fire as WHO picks new leader

By MARIA CHENG AP Medical Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

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GENEVA — The Bush administration's drug and sexual health policy is a key issue as the World Health Organization chooses its next leader, a post that wields great power in allocating billions of dollars in funds to alleviate misery around the world.

After two days of closed-door deliberations, WHO is set to announce its new chief Wednesday.

Contenders for WHO's top job include Dr. Margaret Chan, a bird flu expert and former Hong Kong director of health, Dr. Shigeru Omi of Japan, who heads WHO's Asia office, Mexican Health Minister Dr. Julio Frenk, Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado Mendez and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, a veteran WHO official in Kuwait.

The United States has not declared a preference for any candidate.

Critics say the United States, WHO's largest donor, plays too large a role behind the scenes. They argue that the Bush administration is promoting the interests of its pharmaceutical industry _ at the expense of poor AIDS patients who could be saved by cheap generic medicines _ and has adopted an ideological line on issues like abortion.

President Bush has made more money available for AIDS research than any previous American leader, but that largesse has not extended to programs in reproductive and sexual health. His administration has also challenged ideologically charged WHO programs such as needle exchanges and condom distribution.

U.S. officials deny they are seeking to force the administration's health policies upon the world.

"We are not giving WHO money because we want to have influence," said Bill Hall, a spokesman for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. "We're doing this because we want to improve the human condition around the world."

Leading public health experts and senior WHO officials told The Associated Press that Washington consistently interfered with policy under the U.N. agency's last director-general, Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, who died in May.

"The U.S. government has a direct role in every significant decision made in Geneva, and even close to a veto role," said Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the influential medical journal, The Lancet.

In one prominent case of alleged interference, the United States requested the suppression of a book commissioned by WHO that criticized U.S. free trade agreements for jeopardizing poor countries' access to cheap medicines.

In a letter to WHO's acting director-general, a senior official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the report "spuriously" characterized U.S. trade policy. WHO has yet to make a decision on the U.S. demand.

"Standing up to the U.S. is not the easiest thing to do at the WHO," said Sisule Musungu, a Kenyan intellectual property specialist, who co-authored the report with a former WHO staffer.

The episode sparked concern from two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Rep. Henry Waxman of California, who have called for an investigation into how American trade agreements threaten the health of people in developing countries.

"Attempting to suppress a report because it is critical of U.S. trade policy is unacceptable," Kennedy wrote in a letter to Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In a widely reported episode in January, WHO's top official in Thailand was stripped of his post after he said in an editorial that a U.S.-Thai free trade agreement would jeopardize Thai access to cheap drugs, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients.

"This was an example of an instance where there was probably pressure from a certain member state, in this case the U.S.," said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, of Medecins Sans Frontieres, which works closely with WHO.

The United States denies it had anything to do with the transfer of the official, Dr. William Aldis, to the WHO's regional office in New Delhi, India.

"We had no role in that," said Hall of the Health and Human Services Department. Though Hall says Washington formally complained to the WHO about the editorial, he said no suggestions were made about disciplining Aldis.

Pharmaceutical companies argue that allowing developing countries to produce generic medicines may compromise their quality, endangering the lives of the patients they are meant to treat and leading to resistant strains of diseases.

The WHO's position has been that generic drugs are generally safe, and that the advantages of using them in cases like Thailand outweigh the relatively small risks.

Thailand has often been praised as a success story in its approach to tackling AIDS _ producing cheap, generic versions of anti-retrovirals. More than 80,000 people depend on these life-prolonging treatments and AIDS deaths have dropped by nearly 80 percent in the last decade.

Since the publication of Aldis' editorial, the Thailand-U.S. free trade agreement has been stalled _ largely because of the attention drawn to what the pact would do to Thailand's strategy on fighting AIDS.