On January 28th, a new director-general for the World Health Organization will be chosen. the current head of the UN agency, Gro Harlem Brundtland, has decided not to seek a second term.

The list of candidates have been narrowed down to five. They are Dr. Julio Frenk of Mexico, Dr. Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi of Mozambique, Dr. Jong Wook Lee of the Republic of Korea, Dr. Peter Piot of Belgium, the current head of UNAIDS and Professor Ismail Sallam of Egypt. Whoever is chosen will begin a five-year term this July.

One of those closely watching the selection process for the WHO Director-General is Dr. Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council. From Geneva, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the importance of next week?s election. He says there is a great deal of politics involved in the selection process. He says one of the major challenges facing the new director-general will be to get the ?world?s attention fully turned to respond? to HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Dr. Daulaire says the health community is at a? turning point.? ?Half the world, ? he says, ? still lives with the acute problem of infectious diseases, maternal and child health issues that characterize the first million years of humankind. The other half is increasingly dealing with problems of aging, chronic diseases, of lifestyle issues. And bringing those two quite different strains together in a constructive way is both challenging and very important for humankind?s future.?

Click above links to download or listen to De Capua interview.