CHINA / National

Hong Kong candidate backed for WHO post
By Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-26 06:53

China announced yesterday that it supports the candidacy of Margaret Chan of Hong Kong to run for director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Margaret Chan
Margaret Chan
Chan, currently serving as WHO's assistant director-general for communicable diseases, has achieved much in the control of infectious diseases since she joined WHO in 2003, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing.

The election for new director-general will be taken in November this year.

The late WHO chief, Lee Jong-wook of South Korea, died on May 22 after surgery to remove a blood clot from the brain.

Liu said Chan has profound medical knowledge and rich experience in public health management and has a thorough understanding of WHO rules as well as the challenges and opportunities in the global health system.

Chan has systematic and mature thinking of WHO's development, Liu said, so "we believe Madame Margaret Chan would help the organization play a more active role in the health sector on the world stage if she were elected WHO director-general."

A resume posted on the WHO website said that Chan obtained her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She joined the Hong Kong Department of Health in 1978 and began her career in public health.

In 1994, Chan was appointed director of health, the first female director of Hong Kong.

Chan joined the WHO in 2003.

And in June 2005, she was appointed director of communicable diseases surveillance and response as well as the representative of the director-general for pandemic influenza, according to the WHO website.

"As per WHO policy, we cannot comment one way or another on the strengths/merits of various candidates," said Roy Wadia, spokesman for the WHO office in China.

Wadia said that if WHO staff apply for the post, they have to step down or take a temporary leave of absence during their campaign.
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