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AFRO-NETS> WHO DG candidate's views (2)

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> WHO DG candidate's views (2)
  • From: Claudio Schuftan <aviva@netnam.vn>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 03:29:29 -0500 (EST)

WHO DG candidate's views (2)

----- Original Message ----
From: <info@peterpiot.org>

Peter Piot M.D. Ph.D. Executive Director, Joint United Nations Pro-
gramme on HIV/AIDS & Under Secretary-General of the United Nations

Vision statement on priorities and strategies

The principles and priorities that underpin Dr. Piot's candidature

1 - Health as a fundamental human right, enshrined in the constitu-
tion of the WHO, central to sustainable development and human secu-
rity; and a public responsibility. Health is an end in itself. The
central role of health in poverty alleviation, and social and eco-
nomic development has been firmly documented in recent years. While
governments are ultimately responsible for the state of their peo-
ple's health, the international community has a vital role to play in
creating a global policy and financial environment, which can improve
the equity and quality of health outcomes. Dr. Piot will continue to
position WHO within this context.

2 - Scientific and technical excellence as the basis for policy guid-
ance and country work.

Dr. Piot's background as a scientific researcher leads him to pay
particular attention to the central importance of independent evi-
dence, and the highest levels of scientific rigour. At the same time,
policy advice needs to be based on evidence and practices of what
works in the real world, including in resource poor settings. WHO
needs to provide information that helps governments and their people
make and measure, real progress. Dr. Piot will continue to strengthen
the evidence base, ensuring that WHO's Member States contribute to
the development and application of normative standard setting func-

3 - An organization relevant for all Member States.

WHO exists to serve all its Member States. While maintaining the fo-
cus of its work on the health and development agenda of developing
countries, WHO needs to contribute to the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development and middle income countries, and be rele-
vant to the emerging health challenges that any face. Dr. Piot will
ensure that WHO is effectively steered by its governing bodies and
reflects regional, social, economic and cultural specificity.

4 - People matter.

People are at the heart of WHO's work. It is the people we serve,
those who represent civil society, those who work with and for WHO,
that must shape the values and work of the organization.

Strategic areas for policy renewal

1. WHO: an effective actor at country level

Dr. Piot will build on WHO's Country Focus Initiative, ensure that
the work is needs-driven and supports the achievement of meaningful
health outcomes at country level. The emphasis will be on:
* implementing national health policy;
* building capacity;
* brokering technical support;
* ensuring the inclusion of health in mainstream development instru-
ments; and,
* building consensus and cooperation between all development part-

This agenda requires a more strategic use of resources at country
level. It will also include enabling national officials and experts
to participate more effectively in global and regional processes.

2. Strengthening health systems: the key to delivering health

Finding the balance between catalyzing initiatives and long term sus-
tainable development will be the hallmark of the WHO agenda. Effec-
tive systems are the key to achievement of health outcomes and encom-
pass public, private and voluntary providers. Dr. Piot will reinvigo-
rate the health systems development agenda, establishing an effective
balance between disease control and health systems strengthening.
While disease-specific initiatives are critical, their ability to
drive the health systems development agenda, contribute to basic
health infrastructure, delivery capacity and equitable access to
health services, are limited. Dr. Piot will focus on the key chal-
lenge of handling the balance between preventing risk and vulnerabil-
ity/providing treatment and care - for both communicable and non-
communicable diseases - and building sustainable systems.

3. Energizing and supporting work with broader health constituencies,
civil society, the corporate sector and private foundations

The prime client of WHO remains Member States. Dr. Piot will work to
support the public sector's capacity to address the health needs of
people. However, international health and national initiatives are
characterized by a number of new and emerging actors. More organiza-
tions can capitalize on the potential that these actors offer. Dr.
Piot will strengthen the capacity of WHO to host debate among all ac-
tors and to broker, manage and sustain partnerships, including in the
development of international public goods.

4. Bridging the divide: research and development in a globalizing

The lack of equity in research investment is well understood, but
strategies for addressing it have made little progress. The agenda
includes: neglected areas in the development of drugs, diagnostics,
vaccines and other public goods; health consequences of climate
change; cutting edge scientific developments, particularly in rela-
tion to genomics and other aspects of biotechnology. These issues
will become increasingly pressing in the next decade and Dr. Piot
will position WHO to provide ethical and effective leadership of the
international architecture in this area.

5. Health in an unstable world: a neglected agenda

The global context of WHO is rapidly changing. Many countries face
conflict, food shortages and internal instability, but most develop-
ment models are based on stable situations. New threats from terror-
ism, and the hazards of biochemical weapons are increasingly real.
Migration on an unprecedented scale presents unique challenges to
health systems. Sound normative work, effective surveillance and
early warning systems and cooperation between national and interna-
tional actors to provide rapid technical advice must become part of
WHO's agenda.

6. Working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Achieving the MDGs depends substantially on the health and well-being
of the world's poorest people. Health is central to meeting the goals
established for maternal health, child mortality, HIV/AIDS and other
diseases, as well as education and poverty. Dr. Piot will position
WHO to fully play its part, alongside its national and international
partners, in achieving the MDGs and in a manner which contributes to
sustainable development.

7. Strengthening WHO: consolidation, continuity and accountability

WHO needs stability while continuing the process of reform in order
to consolidate and further improve upon achievements. In pursuit of
this principle, Dr. Piot will build on the current reform process.
This work will capitalize upon the strengths of all components of the
Organization, in particular, the regional offices, and involve deter-
mined efforts to increase responsiveness, transparency and account-
ability to Member States.

Dr. Piot has a proven track record of accomplishment, and a combina-
tion of qualities that uniquely qualify him to lead the World Health
Organization. Dr. Piot is:

* A global leader in health, who has worked with all regions in the
* An outstanding researcher and physician with years of service to
developing countries.
* A results-oriented, collaborative leader who is able to define re-
alistic objectives, then catalyze and manage change.
* An effective advocate who has the proven ability to engage and work
with world leaders and a wide range of constituencies.
* Highly knowledgeable about the WHO and the UN system, and how to
make them work.
* An effective communicator on global health issues.

The criteria:

1 - Strong technical and public health background and extensive ex-
perience in international health

Dr. Piot is a public health expert with global experience, and strong
personal commitment

* Dr. Piot is a 53-year-old physician (M.D.) and microbiologist
(Ph.D.) trained in Belgium and the United States and has published 15
books and over 500 scientific articles.
* In 1976, Dr. Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire.
* For nearly twenty years, Dr. Piot combined an impressive academic
career with public health and research work in several African coun-
* Dr. Piot has extensive first-hand experience working in AIDS, tu-
berculosis, viral hemorrhagic fever and other infectious diseases,
and in areas such as women's and children's health, laboratory ser-
vices and medical education.
* He has been centrally involved in the development of international
public health policy; and has advised numerous Ministries of Health
on national policies in all regions.
* Dr. Piot's work has consistently combined research with community
work in impoverished areas heavily affected by disease.
* Dr. Piot was Professor of microbiology and public health at the In-
stitute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, the University of Nairobi
and the Free University of Brussels.
* He is the recipient of scientific, civil awards and honours, from a
variety of countries. Dr. Piot is a member of the National Academy of
Sciences (Institute of Medicine) of the USA, the Royal Academy of
Medicine of Belgium, and the Royal College of Physicians of London.

2 - Competency in organisational management

Dr. Piot has demonstrated that he is a results-oriented manager, able
to define realistic objectives and then catalyse and manage change

* In 1995, Dr. Piot established the new Joint United Nations Pro-
gramme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), bringing together 8 United Nations Sys-
tems Organisations including WHO and the World Bank - an unprece-
dented collaboration within the multilateral system.
* The recent 5 year external evaluation of UNAIDS concluded that, un-
der Dr. Piot's leadership, the Programme established "what never ex-
isted before the Programme was formed, a clear global mandate with
objectives that can be used to hold international leaders to ac-
count". The evaluation went on to say that, during Dr. Piot's tenure,
UNAIDS "established itself as a leader in tackling HIV/AIDS, and a
centre of knowledge about the disease."
* Dr. Piot has demonstrated his ability to attract highly-qualified
staff and expertise from all regions of the world, to inspire and
manage a culturally-diverse organization.
* Dr. Piot has extensive experience working with multilateral govern-
ance, including in the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, WHO re-
gional committees, the UN General Assembly, the Economic and Social
Council of the UN, the UN Security Council, the World Health Assembly
and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

3 - Proven historical evidence for public health leadership

Dr. Piot has a longstanding track record in public health leadership
with intimate knowledge of the capacities and challenges faced by the
health sector in each region

* His global leadership experience includes political and public
health contacts at the highest level on every continent.
* Dr. Piot has demonstrated he is a visionary leader who can catalyse
change and build consensus on difficult public health issues.
* He was the driving force behind the first Special Session of the UN
General Assembly devoted to a health issue in June 2001, resulting in
a Declaration of Commitment unanimously approved by all Member
* Dr. Piot has been extensively engaged in political and health ini-
tiatives in all regions.
* Under Dr. Piot's leadership, UNAIDS has become a successful global
programme across the complex UN system.
* A powerful communicator in several languages and across many cul-
tures, Dr. Piot understands the impact of the media on advocacy and
public health, and regularly places HIV/AIDS on the front pages
around the world.

4 - A strong commitment to the work of WHO

Dr. Piot is highly knowledgeable about the work of WHO and the UN
system, and knows how to make them work effectively

* Dr. Piot is fully committed to the vision and ideals of the consti-
tution of WHO and the UN, and knows how to overcome obstacles to ac-
* He has worked within WHO (1992-94) as an Associate Director and Di-
rector in its Global Programme on AIDS and has participated in the
World Health Assembly, the Executive Board meetings, and Regional
Committee meetings for the last 10 years.
* During his leadership of UNAIDS, Dr. Piot has demonstrated a strong
commitment to collaboration with WHO at country level, and on major
initiatives such as the joint HIV vaccine unit and access to HIV

5 - Sensitiveness to cultural, social and political differences

Dr. Piot has outstanding competencies in managing cultural, social
and political differences, and turning them into assets. He is an ef-
fective advocate who has the proven ability to work with world lead-
ers and a wide range of constituencies

* Dr. Piot has worked effectively in all parts of the world, and
regularly visits and advises Ministers of Health and Heads of State.
* He has been working in multi-cultural environments throughout his
professional life.
* As head of UNAIDS he has been at the forefront of difficult debates
on international public health and the allocation of public resources
and worked with a diversity of values and sensitivities found between
and within countries.
* He has been centrally involved in assisting development of public
health policy in numerous countries across the world.
* Dr. Piot has longstanding, strong, and productive relationships
with members of affected communities, NGOs and community groups, as
well as with the not-for-profit and commercial sectors, and private

6 - Sufficient skills in at least one of the official and working
languages of the Executive Board and the Health Assembly

* Dr. Piot is fluent in French and English. He also speaks Dutch (his
mother tongue) and understands Spanish. He is an excellent communica-
tor across many cultures.

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