Dr Margaret Chan of China was nominated by the Executive Board of the World Health Organization for the post of Director-General. The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer. Dr Chan is a well-known public figure because of her record of leadership in fighting disease first in Hong Kong, and more recently at WHO.
During her nine-year tenure as Director of Health, Dr Chan confronted the first human outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in 1997 and successfully defeated Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong in 2003.
She also introduced primary health care ‘from the diaper to the grave’ with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention, self-care and healthy lifestyles.
In 2003, she joined WHO and rose to the position of Representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza as well as Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases.
Now 59, Dr Chan obtained her Medical Degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada and a public health degree from the National University of Singapore.