World news story

UK Candidate for World Health Organization Director-General visits Guatemala

Dr David Nabarro, the UK’s candidate for the next Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) is visiting Guatemala on 30 March to meet with key representatives from the health sector.

David Nabarro

Dr. David Nabarro

In May 2017 representatives from 194 nations will meet at their Annual Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland where they will elect a successor to replace Dr Margaret Chan as the next Director-General of the WHO. The jobholder will be responsible for the health and wellbeing of billions of people around the world. Dr David Nabarro is one of three candidates in the running for the position, and he will be in Guatemala to set out his vision for how an upgraded and reformed WHO will benefit the country, especially in the battle against malnutrition.

Between 2010 and 2014 Dr Nabarro served as coordinator for the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition (SUN), an initiative that brought different organisations, disciplines and sectors together to secure improvements in nutrition for all people. Guatemala joined SUN in 2010, and since then the country has taken a multi-sectoral approach to improving nutrition.

Whilst in Guatemala, Dr Navarro will discuss how the WHO can better tackle Guatemala’s health challenges: the impact of malnutrition and the rising cases of non-communicable or ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Other priorities for Dr Nabarro include the threats posed by climate change, widespread poverty and infections becoming more resistant to available medicines.

Dr Nabarro has the full support of the UK Government. 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 has led the world in responding to crises.

Dr Nabarro has worked on the frontline, in over 50 countries including many in 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.

Speaking ahead of his visit Dr Nabarro said:

I am delighted to be visiting Guatemala to hear more about how the WHO can improve the lives of the Guatemalan people across this great country. The WHO is vital in helping meet the challenges ahead, but it urgently needs reform. 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.

For more information on David Nabarro, please visit

Published 28 March 2017