Candidacy of Philippe Douste-Blazy for the post of Director-General of the WHO

WHO has a universal vocation: that of ensuring each and every human being has access to health which is, above all, a global public good.

It is the only organization in the world with both normative authority and health expertise. It is this unique nature that gives it irrefutable legitimacy among all global health stakeholders.


Therefore, the role of WHO is to:

  • define technical standards and recommendations for action in public health in in a totally independent, impartial and transparent way;
  • advise and support States in the implementation of their public health policies;
  • coordinate the response to health crises;
  • advocate to make health a priority at an international scale.

Under the leadership of Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy, WHO will work on the following 4 priorities:

  • health and poverty;
  • health and prevention;
  • health and international security;
  • health and global governance.

Implementing universal health coverage (UHC)

Therefore, access to basic care, evenly spread across territories, should be a constant priority for WHO. In order to achieve this, the organization should help States guarantee equal access for the poorest to basic health services. It is only at this price that we can continue to make progress in reducing maternal and child mortality rates and in the fight against infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Dr Douste-Blazy will

  • Help member States, backed by technical expertise, to implement basic health systems, the only precondition for the existence of universal health coverage.
  • Encourage increased coordination within low-income and middle-income member States between the ministries of Education, Finance and Labour in order to create a strong and sustainable health sector.
  • Open discussions with national governments to increase the portion of public resources allocated to health.
  • Increase the number of health professionals in low-income and middle-income countries:
    - by helping to keep them in their country of origin,
    - by encouraging the work of the WHO Commission on “Health Employment and Economic Growth” that South Africa co-chairs with France.
    - Encourage market forces to reduce the price of medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests in low-income and middle-income countries, as UNITAID has achieved in the area of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
    - Make maternal and child health a priority by stepping up current efforts in pregnancy monitoring, the creation of maternity hospitals, training of midwives and vaccination programmes for children.
    - Support the existing strategy as regards reproductive, maternal and child health.
    - Make all necessary efforts to bring mental health to the forefront of the international development agenda.
    - Create an observatory that will publish a regular report on health inequalities.

Health and prevention

Preventive and collective medicine needs to be prioritized over curative and individual medicine. A sick person does not simply amount to a disease, but remains a human being in constant interaction with his or her environment.

Dr Douste-Blazy will
• Make prevention a key element in the fight against NCDs, as part of a multisectoral approach, bringing together health and education sectors as well as industry stakeholders.
• Set priorities to better identify carcinogens and combat tobacco and alcohol consumption.
• Strengthen the role of WHO in health education programmes, starting at school, based on two factors: diet and physical activity.
• Further emphasize the links between health and pollution, making health a key element in the fight against climate change.
• Support the implementation of the Convention on Tobacco Control.
• Highlight the importance of the “Urban UHC Dashboard” to fight the tremendous inequalities in health coverage services in cities, where 3.7 billion people live.
• In association with UN Women, set up innovative financial solutions to increase investment in preventing and responding to violence against women.

Dr Douste-Blazy will
• Develop aid and expertise for member States to help them implement the IHR. An appropriate evaluation system will be developed.
• Bolster rapid response systems in the field in the case of health crises, with:
- a global health security centre, which, in conjunction with regional offices, will be a genuine international hub for analysis, expertise and forecasting, in close cooperation with programmes already developed by certain countries and organizations;
- regional offices in charge of helping member States evaluate information feedback systems.
• Support the creation of an intervention fund as well as a pool of health workers that can be mobilized quickly to deal with severe and unexpected crises.
• Double efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and all forms of hepatitis, in particular by encouraging partnerships between UN agencies, member States and civil society. He will also strengthen its key normative role, including the service of prequalification of health products and mutual recognition of medicines and priority products.
• Strengthen support for member States by providing them with technical support in case of health crises.
• Develop the WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance adopted in 2015 by highlighting the urgent need to act particularly before the G20. He will encourage the preservation of existing antibiotics and the promotion of new antibiotics through R&D.
• Involve WHO in developing data processing of health data. Special attention will be given to the confidentiality of these data. No community should have a monopoly in possessing such data.

Dr Douste-Blazy will
• Focus on guaranteeing the independence of WHO’s normative power in relation to interests in a position to influence it.
• Propose consultation to ensure alignment between head office and regions, while preserving the latter’s room to manoeuver from an operational level.
• Strengthen ties between the departments of the General Management and those of the regional directorates, in the interest of consistency and renewed responsibility. Reinforced and regular involvement of Regional Directors in the work of head office will lead to better integration of these two levels.
• Propose to further involve NGOs in WHO work and structure this partnership.
• Propose a partnership to the private sector while ensuring the absence of any conflict of interest. To do this, we will create a ‘transparency’ database.
• Establish partnerships with development banks in order to grow.
• Encourage allocation and alignment of voluntary contributions with the organization’s priorities to allow WHO to fulfil its mandate.
• Apply the experience acquired in the creation of UNITAID and the Medicines Patent Pool to promote use of innovative financing to strengthen sustainability of the WHO budget.

For further information:
France diplomatie

Last modified on 09/11/2017

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