Global Networking Against Malaria





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WHO/73 (19 October 1998) Three key senior management positions have now been filled in the World Health Organization's (WHO) new structure as WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland today announced the appointments of the Programme Managers of the Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) and Roll Back Malaria (RBM), and that of the Director of WHO Public Relations. In keeping with her promise to open up WHO to the outside and to recruit more high-level women, Dr Brundtland has appointed two outsiders, one of them a woman, to these three posts. Dr David Nabarro becomes Programme Manager of RBM, Dr Derek Yach becomes Programme Manager of TFI, while Mrs Vaiju Naravane takes over as Director of Public Relations (DPR).

Dr Nabarro has most recently held the post of Chief of Health and Strategic Director of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). He has worked in public sector health development since 1977, in international malaria control since 1986 and was instrumental in getting malaria onto the agenda of the 1998 G8 Summit in Birmingham, UK.

Dr Derek Yach, who has been at WHO since 1995, had been Acting Programme Manager of TFI since July. An epidemiologist, he comes from South Africa, where his interest in tobacco dates back to 1977, and he has a long list of outstanding publications to his name. He worked for the South African Medical Research Council in 1981 and from 1985 to 1995, initially as an epidemiologist and then as a community-based researcher.

Roll Back Malaria and the Tobacco Free Initiative are the first two WHO "Cabinet" projects named by Dr Brundtland. It is estimated that tobacco will kill 10 million people annually by 2020, while there are currently and estimated 300-500 million cases of malaria annually, killing an estimated 1.5-2.7 million people. Over 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa, and the great majority of these among children.

Mrs Vaiju Naravane of India has been named as Dr Brundtland's new Director of Public Relations. A journalist since 1974, Mrs Naravane has most recently been based in Paris, where she held a number of senior positions. She was the European correspondent for the Hindu, India's largest English-language daily, a correspondent and anchor for Radio France Internationale, and a radio and television producer for major French television networks, France Culture, UNESCO Radio, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).