Five Male Candidates Contest for WHO Africa Regional Director
WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

Five male candidates are contesting to be the next regional director for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) African Region.

One of them will replace Botswana’s Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who has served two terms in the position and is not eligible for re-election. Moeti, who was appointed in 2015, has overseen WHO’s operations through trying circumstances, including Ebola outbreaks and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two of the candidates are currently employed at WHO headquarters, while a third is also based in Geneva.

Senegalese Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, who has been proposed by his home country, is currently the WHO Global Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). Prior to this, he was WHO Assistant Director General for Emergency Response, appointed a year before the COVID-19 pandemic (in March 2019), where he led WHO’s global response to all emergencies, heading the incidence teams.

Dr N’da Konan Michel Yao, proposed by his home country Côte d’Ivoire, has been WHO Director of Strategic Health Operations since August 2020, where he coordinates the body’s response to health, natural and humanitarian disasters.

Dr Richard Mihigo, proposed by Rwanda, is also based in Geneva where he has worked for Gavi, the vaccine alliance, since 2022. He is currently senior director of programmatic and strategic engagement with the African Union and Africa CDC. Prior to this, he was Gavi’s  global lead and senior director for COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration.

Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, proposed by Niger, is WHO’s Representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Head of Mission. He has previously worked at the WHO headquarters on climate change.

Dr Faustine Engelbert Ndugulile, proposed by Tanzania, was that country’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology between December 2020 and September 2021 and has also served as a deputy minister of health.

The Regional Committee of WHO African Region will vote for the next regional director in a closed meeting from 26 – 30 August in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo.

Their nomination will be submitted to the WHO Executive Board meeting in January 2025. The newly appointed director will take office in February 2025 for a five-year term and be eligible for reappointment once.

Image Credits: WHO.

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