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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Helen Clark announce the members of the WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark joined a virtual media briefing last Thursday to announce the panel members appointed to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. 

During the virtual media briefing, Madam Sirleaf spoke about the challenging mission to select the panel members from a wide range of qualified candidates from around the world.

“A very important step for us has been to identify the members of the panel. We have considered more than 120 names of excellent potential panel members. We had a very difficult task of narrowing that list to the 11 we are presenting today. We are very pleased to announce 11 exceptional people, who represent a wealth of experience.”

Madam Sirleaf highlighted the panel members’ significant expertise in various strategic areas including infectious diseases, global and national health policy and financing, outbreaks and emergencies, economics, and the well-being and education of women and girls. 

“This is a strong panel, poised to ask the hard questions. We look forward to a period of intense work together, at a key moment in history. We must honor the more than 25.6 million people known to have contracted the disease, and the 850,000 – and counting – who died from COVID-19.”

The Independent Panel’s first meeting is scheduled for September 17th. Its objective is to carry out an impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation of WHO’s international response to COVID-19, as per the resolution passed at the last World Health Assembly. The Panel is also charged with making recommendations on how to enhance the WHO’s preparedness and response to future global pandemics. 

See the full list of panel members below: 

  • Aya Chebbi, African Union Special Envoy on Youth; 
  • David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee; 
  • Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico;
  • Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières during the 2014- 2016 Ebola crisis;
  • Mark Dybul, former Head of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; 
  • Mauricio Cárdenas, former Finance Minister of Colombia; 
  • Michel Kazatchkine, former Head of The Global Fund; 
  • Precious Matsoso, former Director-General of Health of South Africa;
  • Preeti Sudan, former Secretary of Health of India;
  • Thoraya Obaid, former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund; 
  • Zhong Nanshan, Specialist in SARS who led the COVID-19 response in China.

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