WHO announces "the most wide-ranging reforms in the Organization’s history"

7 March, 2019

WHO today announced the most wide-ranging reforms in the Organization’s history to modernize and strengthen the institution to play its role more effectively and efficiently as the world’s leading authority on public health.

The changes are designed to support countries in achieving the ambitious “triple billion” targets that are at the heart of WHO’s strategic plan for the next five years: one billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage (UHC); one billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.

These changes include:

- Aligning WHO’s processes and structures with the “triple billion” targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by adopting a new structure and operating model to align the work of headquarters, regional offices and country offices, and eliminate duplication and fragmentation.

- Reinforcing WHO’s normative, standard-setting work, supported by a new Division of the Chief Scientist and improved career opportunities for scientists.

- Harnessing the power of digital health and innovation by supporting countries to assess, integrate, regulate and maximize the opportunities of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, supported by a new Department of Digital Health.

- Making WHO relevant in all countries by overhauling the Organization’s capabilities to engage in strategic policy dialogue. This work will be supported by a new Division of Data, Analytics and Delivery to significantly enhance the collection, storage, analysis and usage of data to drive policy change in countries. This division will also track and strengthen the delivery of WHO’s work by monitoring progress towards the “triple billion targets” and identifying roadblocks and solutions.

- Investing in a dynamic and diverse workforce through new initiatives including the WHO Academy, a proposed state-of-the-art school to provide new learning opportunities for staff and public health professionals globally. Other measures include a streamlined recruitment process to cut hiring time in half, management trainings, new opportunities for national professional officers, and previously-announced improvements in conditions for interns.

- Strengthening WHO’s work to support countries in preventing and mitigating the impact of outbreaks and other health crises by creating a new Division of Emergency Preparedness, as a complement to WHO’s existing work on emergency response.

- Reinforcing a corporate approach to resource mobilization aligned with strategic objectives and driving new fundraising initiatives to diversify WHO’s funding base, reduce its reliance on a small number of large donors and strengthen its long-term financial stability.

“The changes we are announcing today are about so much more than new structures, they’re about changing the DNA of the organization to deliver a measurable impact in the lives of the people we serve,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Our vision remains the same as it was when we were founded in 1948: the highest attainable standard of health for all people. But the world has changed, which is why we have articulated a new mission statement for what the world needs us to do now: to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”

Chris Zielinski

chris@chriszielinski.com

Blogs: http://ziggytheblue.wordpress.com and http://ziggytheblue.tumblr.com

Research publications: http://www.researchgate.net

HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT chriszielinski.com

His publications are at www.ResearchGate.net and https://winchester.academia.edu/ChrisZielinski/ and his blogs are http://ziggytheblue.wordrpress.com and https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ziggytheblue