Press Release WHO/41
20 May 1998
DR BRUNDTLAND INVITES WHO EXECUTIVE BOARD TO INCREASE POLICY INPUT
The 102nd session of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Executive Board closed yesterday. Highlight of the two-day meeting of WHO's second-highest governing body was a speech by the Director-General elect, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, in which she called on the Board to become more involved in WHO policy-making.
First on the Executive Board's (EB) agenda was the election of a new chairman. Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, will serve as Chairman for one year. He succeeds Professor Abdelhamid Aberkane, Head of the Intensive Care Department of Constantine University Hospital, Algeria.
During the two-day session the Board also reviewed WHO budgetary and constitutional arrangements and addressed issues such as the WHO Revised Drugs Strategy and the quality of biological products moving in international commerce.
Speaking to the Board on 18 May, Dr Brundtland outlined her plans for WHO. In future, the WHO Secretariat's work would be grouped into four areas: building healthy communities and populations; combating ill health; external relations and cooperation with other UN agencies, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, donors and other stakeholders; and building sustainable health systems in Member States.
The Director-General Elect, who takes office on 21 July 1998, called on the EB to work with her in changing WHO. "What I would wish to see is a working relationship between the Secretariat and the knowledge base represented by the Board I would welcome the opportunity for real policy discussions around this table."
Dr Brundtland proposed that the Board join her in more informal settings - such as a retreat in October 1998 - to focus on policy discussions concerning the main directions which the WHO should be pursuing under her stewardship. She has already suggested "Roll Back Malaria", "Tobacco Action", "Health Sector Development" and "Health and Development" as policy initiatives and she invited the Board to help her formulate other health priorities.
The Executive Board is composed of 32 individuals who are technically qualified in the field of health, each designated by a Member State that has been elected to do so by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected to the Executive Board for three-year terms.
In farewell remarks to the EB, the outgoing Director-General, Dr Hiroshi Nakajima, supported the on-going reform process at WHO. "WHO's reform must be understood and pursued as a continuous process, the purpose of which is to keep the Organization vigilant and responsive to the evolving needs and circumstances of its Member States in a rapidly changing social, political and economic situation."
The Board formed a working group under the chairmanship of Professor J-F Girard of France to explore the complex issues related to WHO's Revised Drug Strategy after the World Health Assembly was not able to agree on a proposed resolution during deliberations last week.
The EB adopted a resolution recommending that all WHO Regional Directors be limited to two five-year terms in office. The Pan American Health Organization, which serves as the WHO's Regional Office for the Americas but which is a separate legal entity, is requested to consider this issue as well. This would bring the conditions of employment of the Regional Directors in line with the conditions applying to the WHO Director-General.
The EB announced that its 103rd session will take place from 25 January to 3 February 1999, while the 52nd World Health Assembly will be held from 17 to 26 May 1999.
Following the election of twelve new Member States as members of the Executive Board during the World Health Assembly last week, the Board's composition and the countries' representatives are listed in Annex 1.
EXECUTIVE BOARD: LIST OF MEMBERS
Designated by Sir Kenneth Calman Chief Medical Officer Department of Health London Chairman United Kingdom Dr J.M. Kariburyo
Ministre de la Santé publique
Dr K.A. Al-Jaber
Director of Prevention
Ministry of Health
Dr A. Meloni
Oficina de Financiamiento,
Inversiones y Cooperación Externa
Ministerio de Salud, Líma
Vice-Chairman Peru Dr M.R. Khan
Rapporteur - English Bangladesh Dr P. Dossou-Togbe
Directeur adjoint de Cabinet
Ministère de la Santé, de la Protection sociale et de la Condition féminine, Cotonou
Rapporteur - French Benin Dr A. Hembe, National Director for Public Health, Ministry of Health, Luanda Angola
Dr J.K.M. Mulwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Gaborone
Botswana Dr A. Sanou Ira, Directrice des Etudes et de la Planification, Ministère de la Santé, Ouagadougou Burkina Faso
M. A. Juneau, Sous-Ministre adjoint, Direction générale des Politiques et de la Consultation, Santé Canada, Ottawa
Dr J.B. Ferreira Medina, Ministre de la Santé, et de la Promotion sociale, Praia
Dr J. Limbassa, Inspecteur général des Services de Santé
Central African Republic
Dr J. Jimenez de la Jara, Santiago de Chile
Mr Liu Peilong, Director-General, Department, of International Cooperation, Ministry of Health, Beijing
Dr J. Williams, Member of Parliament, Health Consultant, Rarotonga
Dr C. Komodikis, Chief Health Officer, Minister of Health, Nicosia
Professeur J. Menard, Directeur général de la Santé, Paris
France Mr H. Voigtländer
Director, International Relations and Cooperation with the European Union,
Germany, Federal Ministry of Health, Bonn
Dr L.A. López-Benitez, Viceministro de Politica Sectorial y Desarollo, Institucional Secretaria de Estado en el Despacho de Salud Pública, Tegucigalpa
Dr B. Wasisto, Senior Adviser to the Minister, of Health, Jakarta
Dr E. Nakamura, Technical Adviser for International Cooperation, International Affairs Division, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Tokyo
Dr P. Dalaloy, Minister of Health, Vientiane
Lao People's DemocraticRepublic
Dr G.M. van Etten, Head, International Affairs Division, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Rijswijk
Dr A. Alvik, Director-General of Health, Norwegian Board of Health, Oslo
Dr A.J.M. Sulaiman, Director-General of Health Affairs, Ministry of Health, Muscat
Professeur J. Leowski, Director, School of Public Health and Social Medicine, Medical Centre for Postgratuate Education, Warsaw
Dr O.V. Rutkovsky, Minister of Health, Moscow
Mr N.S. de Silva, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Suwasiripaya, Colombo
Dr R. Edwards, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Port-of-Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Dr M. Fikri, Assistant Under-Secretary, Preventive Medicine Affairs, Ministry of Health, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Dr J.I. Boufford, Dean, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, New York, N.Y.
United States of America
Dr A.L. Al-Salami, Under-Secretary for Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Public Health, Sana'a
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