WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

The Changemaker: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar

What WHO most needs in its next Director-General is a “changemaker,” says Sania Nishtar, 1 of 3 finalists in the running to lead the WHO. in government, civil society and at WHO.

In this 4-part Q&A with GHN, the Director-General candidate outlines needed changes at WHO, her priorities as DG, the role of politics in global health and the reasons why she should be elected to WHO's top leadership role. “This organization is at such a sensitive juncture,” says Nishtar. “I’m not playing politics in my campaign… . I’m not telling people to support me because I come from a developing country, because I’m a woman. I’m telling them, “Look at my track record. Have I delivered change or not?”

  • The Changemaker: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part I, March 20, 2017
    In this first installment, Nishtar shares what she considers her top qualification for the job, confronts the idea that the next DG should be from Africa and explores WHO’s readiness for the next global pandemic.
  • Culture Change: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part II, March 21, 2017
    A focus on core priorities, a culture based on accountability and cost effectiveness, and a revamped funding process for WHO are some of the key changes Sania Nishtar says she would undertake if elected as DG of the WHO.
  • The Politics of Global Health: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part III, March 22, 2017
    The future, Sania Nishtar says, demands a WHO leader skilled in politics as well as health. The next WHO DG must deal more directly with heads of government whose decisions in finance, trade, IP [intellectual property], investment treaties, food, migration, etc. have major impacts on global health.
  • Closing Argument: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part IV, March 22, 2017
    In the final part of GHN’s Q&A with her, Sania Nishtar makes her closing argument for why she should be WHO’s next Director-General. Nishtar emphasizes her history working in Pakistan’s government as a federal health minister, her ability to “speak truth to power,” her experience founding a civil society organization and her record of integrity and transparency.


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