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UK choice for WHO chief visits Zambia

Speaking ahead of his visit Dr Nabarro said: “I am delighted to be visiting Zambia to hear more about how the WHO can improve the lives of Zambian people across this great country.

Our world faces many challenges including climate change, widespread poverty and conflict as well as the threat of infections such as Tuberculosis becoming more resistant to available medicines. Zambia faces a double burden, suffering from these infectious diseases whilst also facing rising cases of non-communicable or ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It is vital that we take early, preventative action to ensure that, where possible children are living active, healthy lives reducing the risk of these diseases later in life.

The WHO is vital to help meet these challenges, but it urgently needs an upgrade. I will rapidly transform how the WHO responds to disease outbreaks and I will prioritise support for lifestyle related diseases. At the heart of my vision is an organisation that ensures people, especially women and children, get the health care they need, when they need it.

Dr Nabarro has the full support of the UK Government because his experience is unrivalled – he has spent over 40 years in international public health as a medical doctor, educator, international public servant and diplomat. He has repeatedly and successfully managed complex global challenges and led the world in responding to crises.

At the end of May health ministers of 194 nations will meet for their annual assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. They will elect the person who will – on July 1st - replace Dr Margaret Chan as the next Director-General of the WHO.

It is a serious job about health and wellbeing of billions of people. Dr David Nabarro is one of the final three candidates in the running and he is in Zambia to set out how his vision for an upgraded, reformed, WHO will benefit the country.

Speaking ahead of the visit, British High Commissioner to Zambia, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet OBE, said: Dr David Nabarro, with whom I worked during the Ebola crisis in West Africa, has a breadth of experience that makes him uniquely qualified to ensure that the WHO is equipped to face the challenges of the next decade. He is the right candidate at the right time, seeking to help improve the lives of people in Zambia and all over the world.

Dr Nabarro has worked on the frontline, in over 50 countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. He has also spent 15 years getting to grips with the intricacies of the UN and global health systems, working on Ebola, bird flu, cholera and nutrition.

Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission - Lusaka.