NewsWORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Healer Needed for World Health Body

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Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 166-169
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.166

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Summary

GENEVA-- As the World Health Organization (WHO) prepares to choose a new leader later this month, public health experts are hoping for somebody who will bring a new vision to an agency that many think has lost its way. The new leader will replace Hiroshi Nakajima of Japan, whose 10-year stewardship of WHO comes to an end in July. The election comes at a critical turning point for WHO. The world's health landscape has changed over the past decade, and many believe the agency has not changed with it. Its narrow, disease-based approach is sometimes seen as too simplistic; its support is not always going to the countries that need it the most; and while member nations are attempting to interfere in its workings and some are arbitrarily withholding funds, other agencies not usually connected with health are muscling in on its territory. Such problems have mounted in recent years, and health experts both within WHO and outside it believe that the new director-general will have a tough job getting the organization back on track.