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Crisis manager with 194 bosses

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, pp. 495
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6260.495

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As director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan is often ranked among the most powerful women in the world. But her agency appeared to be powerless to stop a devastating epidemic of Ebola last year. Critics have slammed WHO's performance, and reviews have called for drastic reforms (Science, 17 July, p. 223). Chan is used to crises; as director of health in Hong Kong, China, she fought devastating outbreaks of bird flu and SARS before taking WHO's top job in 2006. Science talked to Chan on 10 October in Berlin, Germany, where she spoke about the lessons from Ebola and the dangers of antimicrobial resistance at a meeting of the G7 health ministers. Chan complained that many countries were not serious about managing the WHO and she said she was determined to push through reform of the organization: "I only have 21 months," she said.