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World health's top job down to shortlist of five candidates
Cat : International Conferences
Date : 2006-11-07 12:16:34                      Reader : 250
encouraged and gets top jobs everywhere !
That is unfair and encourages Israel terrorism in Palestine.

GoogleNews 7/11/2006

World health's top job down to shortlist of five candidates


GENEVA: The five candidates shortlisted for the world's top health job will undergo grilling Tuesday before the World Health Organization's Executive Board with two Asian candidates at the top of the list competing against each other.

At the end of voting Monday, WHO bird flu expert Margaret Chan from China held a slight lead in the race to become the WHO's director-general with 32 votes, followed by Shigero Omi, a Japanese who heads WHO's operations in the Western Pacific and China, with 31.

Among the five candidates were also Mexico's Health Minister Julio Frenk with 30 votes, and Kazem Behbehani, a senior WHO official from Kuwait as well as Spanish Health Minister Elena Salgado Mendez with 28 each.

Omi was the only candidate to issue a statement, saying he was "delighted" to be on the shortlist, and that it was "an excellent first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done."

The contest for the United Nations' top health job entered its final round Monday with the start of a three-day meeting to nominate a new chief, which narrowed the roster of 11 nominees down to five.

Each board member voted for five candidates in each round of secret ballots.

Anders Nordstrom, who has been acting director-general since late Director-General Lee Jong-wook died in May, said there is no formal regional rotation for the leadership position.

On Wednesday the board will nominate one final candidate for approval by Thursday at a special session of the agency's governing World Health Assembly, made up of all 193 member countries.

The United States, a member of the WHO executive board, has not expressed a preference for any of the candidates.

Observers say Hong Kong native Chan, who was the WHO's top official for pandemic influenza as well as the assistant director-general for communicable diseases, has China and other Asian countries backing her, but her chances could be limited because Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea will be the new U.N. secretary-general. A long-standing U.N. tradition holds that the top posts at different agencies are geographically divided.

Omi, a WHO insider with 16 years' experience at the organization's Asia office, faces the same handicap but could get votes from countries keen to keep China's influence in the United Nations in check.

Mexico's Frenk is the only candidate from the Americas after Ecuadorean president Alfredo Palacio Gonzalez dropped out of the running last week. The minister is credited with revamping the country's health system by introducing an insurance system for the poor.

Lee took over as director-general of WHO in 2003 as the agency was winding up its battle against the worldwide SARS outbreak. The South Korean died of a brain hemorrhage, aged 61

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