SIXTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
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SIXTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
FORM FOR CURRICULUM VITAE
Family name (surname): Dr. SZÓCSKA
First/other names: MIKLÓS, Károly
Attach recent photograph
Date of birth (Day/Month/Year):
Place and country of birth: BUDAPEST(IX), HUNGARY
If you have ever been found guilty of the violation of any law (except minor traffic violations) give full particulars: -
Civil status: MARRIED Number of dependants:3
RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS 41
Degrees/certificates obtained: (Please indicate here the principal degrees/certificates obtained,
with dates and names of institutions. Additional pages may be added.)
Medical Doctor, 1989 Semmelweis University of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Budapest (Hungary)
Master of Public Administration, 1998 Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)
Doctoral Diploma (PhD), 2009
In the field of change management Semmelweis University Budapest (Hungary)
For languages other than mother tongue,
enter the appropriate number from the code
below to indicate the level of your language
knowledge. If no knowledge, please leave
CODE: 1.Limited conversation,
reading of newspapers,
2. Engage freely in discussions,
read and write more difficult
3. Fluent (nearly) as in mother
Others (please specify)
42 SIXTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS 43
Positions held: Please indicate here the positions and work experience held during your
professional career, with the corresponding dates, duties, achievements/accomplishments and
responsibilities. Additional pages may be added.
2010-2014. Minister of State for Health
Ministry of Human Resources, Government of Hungary
Between 2010-2014, I served a full electoral term as minister of state for health in Hungary. Besides
managing sustainability of health services during the world economic crisis, we implemented an
evidence-based reform portfolio supported by a participatory, consultative change framework. We
introduced a demanding set of public health regulations including full ban of smoking in all closed
public places, the decrease of trans-fat content of food, introduction of HPV vaccination for adolescent
girls, and the introduction of public health product tax (PHPT) on food and beverages with added salt
and sugar content. PHPT proved to be an innovative tool to influence consumer and industry behavior
simultaneously, and generated invaluable resources during the deepest times of economic crisis. People
consumed less added sugar and salt and companies improved their food production formulas. Revenues
from PHPT were used to raise the salaries of nurses and doctors to slow down health workers
emigration. In 2013 WHO awarded the government for the anti-smoking actions and Hungary jumped
to the 11th
place from the 27th on the Tobacco Scale Control Index.
We laid down the foundations of a new national health service by nationalizing hospitals, re-
engineering and integrating patient pathways, introducing regionally centralized capacity planning and
tailoring capacities to current needs. We started a pilot for the strengthening of primary care in
disadvantaged regions, targeting the Roma minority, children, the elderly and marginalised people.
Robust European structural fund investment supported the modernization of service infrastructures and
the core foundations of a national electronic health system.
Our pharmaceutical policy of innovative payment schemes, taxing, competitive bidding radically
decreased pharma expenditure of health insurance and citizens, making therapies more accessible in
times of economic crisis.
In 2011 we successfully managed the Hungarian EU presidency, contributing to the EU Council
conclusions “Towards modern, responsive and sustainable health systems”, later chairing a workgroup
of the EU refection process on investment in health systems, developing a toolkit for the smart use of
European structural funds. I was also a member of the EU eHealth Task Force laying the foundations
of current European eHealth policies.
During my mandate we had close collaboration with WHO, such as on health system performance
evaluation, TB screening reform and mental health. We harmonized our EU presidency agenda with
WHO and our collaboration on health human resources strategy triggered our participation in the EU
1995-present - Founder, Associate Professor, Director
Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University
With colleagues, we initiated the formation of the Health Services Management Training Centre
(HSMTC) at Semmelweis University in 1990. Since then I have leading responsibilities in the
development and operations of HSMTC as an institution and in developing training, research, and
development programmes in Hungary and internationally. I became the director in 2000. After my
four-year term as minister of state I returned to HSMTC as director. My professional interest covers
the development of organisations, management of change and leadership. Me and my colleagues had
extensive research in HR migration and HR strategy for health. Most recently I focus on network
analysis and case-based crisis communication training.
In 2015 Semmelweis University trusted me with responsibilities for the strategic development of the
Institute of Digital Health Sciences.
HSMTC has been the ECA regional partner institute of the World Bank Institute for the Flagship
program (with app. 1200 participants from 41 countries). HSMTC participated in the European Health
Executive program and since 2016 is the WHO Collaborating Center for Human Resources in Health.
1992-1993 - Member of Supervisory Board, (elected by the National Assembly)
National Health Insurance Fund Administration
The Board was responsible for overseeing NHIFA, the single payer of the Hungarian health insurance
Please state any other relevant facts that might help in the evaluation of your application. List
your activities in civil, professional, public or international affairs.
International development projects
Broad experience with planning and implementation of international development projects of various
donor agencies including WHO, the World Bank or the EU. As minister of state I managed EU
structural fund projects with the magnitude of 1.5 billion euros.
Participation in recent WHO activities
WHO Mission in Romania supporting the preparation of the Regional Health Services Plan of the
disadvantaged North-East Region, Bucharest, 2016.
WHO Expert Advisory Group Member on reviewing the Relevance and Effectiveness of the WHO
Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, Geneva, 2015.
WHO expert meeting on implementation of health system transformation, Madrid, 2015.
Selected participations in international organizations
Past and present board member or supervisory positions at international organizations, such as
European Health Management Association (EHMA), European Health Property Network (EUHPN),
EIT HEALTH-European Institute of Innovation & Technology.
Participating or leading workgroups in several international projects:
EU HRH Joint Action (2013-2016) establishing a shared HRH strategy, with 30 associated and 62
collaborating partners, review of country practices, sharing of good practices, development of planning
and forecasting tools.
EunetHTA (in progress) delivering a sustainable and streamlined model of health technology
assessment for Europe. HSMTC contributes to the joint production of HTAs, dissemination and
E-Health Joint Action (in progress) supporting the developments of the EU eHealth network.
HSMTC is responsible for international dissemination of all outputs of the project.
44 SIXTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
Please list here a maximum of 10 publications - especially the main ones in the field of public
health, with names of journals, books or reports in which they appeared. An additional page
may be used for this purpose, if necessary. (Please feel free also to attach a complete list of all
publications.) Do not attach the publications themselves.
Girasek, Kovács, Aszalós, Eke, Kovács, Cserháti, Szócska (2016). Headcount and FTE data in the
European health workforce monitoring and planning process. HRH, 14:42. DOI:10.1186/s12960-016-
Task Force of the Minister of State for Health (2011). Resuscitated Health Care – Recovering
Hungary. Semmelweis Plan for the Rescue of Health Care. Policy Document. Budapest, Hungary:
Ministry of National Resources, Ministry of State for Health.
Eke, Girasek, Szócska (2011). From melting pot to change lab Central Europe: Health workforce
migration in Hungary. In: Wismar et al. (Eds). Evidence from 17 European Countries. Copenhagen:
WHO; European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies,365-294.
Szócska (2009) Report on the use of structural funds for health investment in Hungary. Report for DG
Sanco, European Commission, Brussels.
Gaál, Belli, McKee, Szócska (2006). Informal Payments for Healthcare: Definitions, Distinctions and
Szócska, Réthelyi, Normand (2005). Managing Healthcare Reform in Hungary: Challenges and
To demonstrate communication skills, I list selected keynote speeches and presentations
Szócska (2016). The Hungarian Tobacco Blitz, Tobacco Control in Northern and Western Europe.
Tobacco Symposium State of the Art & Best Available Practices, Wien, Austria
Szócska (2014). Big Data in System Reform, Management Control, Power game and Transparency.
E-Health Forum, Athens, Greece
Szócska (2013). Health systems in times of crisis. 16th European Health Forum Gastein, Austria
Szócska (2013). Presentation to WHO directors on “Key interventions in Hungarian Health Policy- Towards sustainable health systems” under the invitation of WHO DG Margaret Chan
Please list hobbies, sports, skills and any other relevant facts that might help in the evaluation of
My family heritage has strong public health roots. Both of my parents were paediatricians belonging to the medical generation fighting back tuberculosis in Hungary (Morbus Hungaricus). As a child I could observe my mother working together with green cross nurses and received an early imprinting in the importance of fieldwork of communities, hygiene, vaccination, doctors and nurses working in teams. This team spirit with nurses was so visible in my work that I was awarded as Honorary Nurse by the Hungarian Nursing Association, an award that I am really proud of. Two generations earlier the
family lost two of my grandparents and one of my aunts in tuberculosis and today Hungary is a champion in vaccination statistics and eradication of communicable diseases. My family took part in winning that war with poverty and disease. I gain balance doing sports (swimming the favourite), music and reading (history as preference).
RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS 45
Please evaluate how you meet each of the “Criteria for candidates for the post of the Director-
General of the World Health Organization” (see attached sheet). In so doing, please make
reference to specific elements of your curriculum vitae to support your evaluation. The criteria
adopted by the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA65.15 are the following:
a strong technical background in a health field, including experience in public health;
My health reform and public health regulatory agenda demonstrate a strong understanding of health
priorities and an ability to put knowledge in action. I believe that the implementation of these reforms
and the management of the EU presidency prepared me to act on global level.
I habitually do my job working in teams and as public health interventions are collaborative efforts I
am ready to mobilise WHO and the best public health experts and institutions to support our decisions
and actions with a global network.
exposure to and extensive experience in international health;
HSMTC has been a partner institute of international agencies and universities. As director I gained
broad experience with international training programs focusing on health reforms, financing, AIDS
and tuberculosis in Europe, Central Asia, Asia and Africa. These interactive training programs focused
on skill development for international participants to define their problems, plan relevant interventions
and develop local ownership towards solutions.
demonstrable leadership skills and experience;
My first leadership experience was being elected as student president from the opposition at the dawn
of the system change of the late 80’s. I have learnt the importance of mobilizing people and
organisational resources for change. Since then I have developed a systemic approach of consultations
with stakeholders and professionals to prevent resistance against change and for developing
ownership of the problems and solutions. These capacities helped me to manage the Hungarian
healthcare with a demanding reform agenda through the world economic crisis and stay in office for a
full electoral term, while average life expectancy in my position was 20 months in the previous 20
During my term we successfully managed European Presidency with strong human resources crisis
and sustainability of health services agenda.
excellent communication and advocacy skills;
The anti-smoking regulation was carried through the full legislative processes in 76 days(!) with
84.1% majority votes and even 64% of smokers supported it. In the first year of the introduction of
HPV vaccination 80% of mothers requested their daughters to be vaccinated. The rapid
implementation and public support of the public health regulations demonstrate that I managed to
advocate the interest of health and we successfully persuaded stakeholders and public as well.
Managing the health system required dialogue with various stakeholders. Savings in pharma
expenditures or re-engineering patient pathways also needed regulatory interventions, but a successful
dialogue with patient and professional associations and industry as well to accept crisis realities.
demonstrable competence in organizational management;
The organizational transitions and development projects during my mandate were reinforced by
innovative management interventions. We introduced big data and network analysis in supporting
decisions and management control and these approaches could also be useful in forecasting and
modeling pandemics. The centralized national procurement of utilities and pharmaceuticals yielded
radical costs savings and larger volumes of medicines and vaccines. The broad range of reform,
development and organizational interventions were monitored for performance through project
sensitivity to cultural, social and political differences;
Teaching on international programmes for a diverse audience that many times brought conflicting war
experience to the teaching room equipped me to touch the problems of health in a way to put it above
all particular conflicts and self interests. These experiences prepared me for my work on various WHO
and other professional committees and missions to successfully develop agreement, initiate and
implement change in culturally diverse or even divided context.
As minister of state I enhanced my country’s global opening initiatives and developed active cross
strong commitment to the mission and objectives of WHO;
For me health is a positive human right, implying a strong responsibility of communities to build
health systems providing equal access to good quality health services for all members of a society
without suffering financial hardship. Solidarity-based health systems are not only better, because they
provide access to the needed services for the disadvantaged members of a society, but there are plenty
of evidence out there, that they are more efficient for the wealthy and poor alike. Since 1990 as the
founder and director of HSMTC and later as minister of state I have been working in the public sector
for the benefit of the public, by improving the performance of the health system. With my family
heritage and a strong Hungarian legacy from Semmelweis I have been doing my job with firm public
good health condition required of all staff members of the Organization; and STATEMENT;
Based on the regular occupational health check-ups for public administrators or university employees I
can state that my health status is fit for the job.
sufficient skill in at least one of the official working languages of the Executive Board and the
Health Assembly. My international education and the daily usage of English as working language prepared me to operate in an international organisation.
Please state your vision of priorities and strategies for the World Health Organization:
The responsibilities of WHO for global health are relatively straightforward. As the director general of
WHO, I should work for:
► making people on this planet healthier and more cautious for their health,
► universal health coverage should protect those who get sick, and health systems should be
resilient, equitable and ever growing in quality,
► the mission of health promotion, prevention, cure and care should be provided by properly
trained, committed, motivated, innovative health labour force.
My vision therefore is a resilient WHO, that supports the efforts of governments to successfully cope
with the challenges posed by the rapidly changing world and environment, on the basis of the principle
of subsidiarity. I envisage a strong WHO as the indisputable, impartial leader in global health and the
world’s advocate for value driven health policy for better health and reduced inequities within the
2030 Agenda, and Sustainable Development Goals. The world needs WHO as a leading international
change agent for health, and an agile global agency to deal with the extremes and the unexpected. The
road to resilience is a long one: it requires an organisation, which is a knowledge center of both
technical and social innovations, and the master of technical and political feasibility. The cornerstones
of such a paradigmatic transformation are as follows:
The question is always WHAT but the answer is HOW
In many cases we have sufficient evidence and proper solutions in theory for WHAT should be done.
We also have the experience that the best theoretical solutions fail in implementation. Many times we
can solve problems of technical nature but fail when we have to initiate behavioural change. As a
consequence, we experience a high failure rate with sustainable change or feasible local actions.
Let us hear the message of these failures. No technical solution is valid without an implementation and
consultative change methodology. Changes should be evidence based and balanced with behavioural
insights. No external solution is valid without local ownership. Working on WHAT should go together
with HOW. This approach will be the key methodological element of my work.
Act in the present, be prepared for the unexpected, plan and build for the future
Traditional answers and official procedures that were useful and sufficient to lay the foundations of
global institutions in a steadier world do not necessarily deliver solutions in the present social, political
and industrial realities. New, globally successful health actors and donors grew out of the rapidly
changing organizational environment and successfully started to fill the adaptational vacuum and
dominate the institutional world with their actions.
WHO has to transform, get organized to become an agile global agency and build renewed global
partnerships to meet the challenges. With building on the already existing initiatives, the values and
exceptional professional power of WHO, we have to start it now.
Break out of the professional isolation and make health a global political economic and financial
WHO has to act in a changing political context. The international health community, policy makers
and experts globally united and ready to align their actions with the SDGs, and its health priorities.
However, in times of global economic crisis, fiscal austerity, countries breaking up with no visible
public administration, this is not enough.
We have to break out of this isolation and the inbreeding of our internal professional wish lists. The
health community has to be able to influence the agendas of global and national political leaders and
fiscal decision makers like prime ministers or ministers of finance to not only hear our cry, but to
make them act towards solutions. WHO has to refocus its persuasion on them. The SDG agenda
provides WHO and the global health community with an unprecedented momentum to renew
commitments for health at the level of heads of states through involvement of the whole government
and society. We have to build on the power of successful examples and practices of nations and
alliances that were able to shape the global health agenda with their initiatives.
Make people healthier – those in need should come first
To make people healthier is a paradox task. At some parts of the world people get sick and die because
of their wealth and lifestyle while at other parts they die as a consequence of poverty and the lack of
basic hygiene or public health services. We must understand that in this world, globalised by travel
and marketing, we are destined to share and manage risks of communicable and non-communicable
diseases, high-, low-, and middle-income countries together. Having global perspectives in mind, we
have to understand which countries are in urgent necessity and those in biggest need should enjoy
primacy. The top priorities are:
► The management of pandemics - with utmost agility in preparedness, forecasting, modelling, logistics and surveillance,
- in coordinated partnership,
- with interventions that are culturally tailored,
- supporting local actions with global rapid response teams complementing weak or missing
► Sharing the risks could not be managed without stable and sustainable funding
- acknowledging the unprecedented efforts of global donors, it is time to recognise the need for institutional resource generation responses to promote universal coverage and pandemic risk
- understanding that global funding is of political consideration and should happen in dialogue
with governmental and business communities we should promote innovative economic models
for generating resources, such as public health product taxation.
► In the fight against AMR, humanity should be equipped with new antibiotics and ensure
access to high prized medicines (vaccines and drugs) globally - with new business models developed in dialogue with a portfolio of stakeholders from donors
through research to business communities,
- the antibiotics strategy should be managed through influencing behaviour of professionals and
cross sectorial interventions.
► Health human resources developments and balancing migration globally in coordinated
► WHO should promote innovation and technology in changing the trends regarding accessibility
and equity and take advantages of the tools of the 21st Century with
- utilising big data technologies to improve our warning and surveillance systems and predictive
capabilities, - mobile and wearable technologies to take diagnostics and therapy to places where they never
existed before this way promoting access very cost-effectively,
- point of care technologies to provide health care for those in the flow of migration.
► Countries emerging from conflicts without solid public administration systems - by developing of public health systems parallel to and integrated in the establishment of new
► The development of primary care and care coordination through cross-country learning
and sharing good practices.
► Fighting NCDs globally with social mobilisation and behaviour change in mind
WHO should transform as an Institution
With promoting the idea of resilient health systems towards member states, comes the responsibility of
WHO to be resilient. WHO has all the potential and is full of expertise and goodwilling staff to
accomplish a cultural change. To make this happen I will ensure a team spirit, a culture of open speech
and consultation for all staff members, career progression and recruitment based on merit. In this
process we have to build on the achievements of the ongoing WHO reforms in alignment with the
broader UN reform agenda. The key components of the transformation strategy include:
► developing change management capacities,
► redesigning performance and reporting in a global project portfolio management framework
focusing on results, problem solving,
► to prevent bureaucracy to strangle action,
► development of rapid response teams and task forces to support country efforts to cope with local
health-related emergencies, building on mobilising WHO’s resources globally,
► further development of risk communication capabilities,
► empower professional and management information systems by big data technologies and
► stabilising funding of WHO and its priority programmes.
Partnerships and collaboration should be endorsed
Health problems are larger than what a single organisation could ever bear. I will work to achieve
effective collaboration partnerships and coordinated actions within UN and with, member states,
donors and international stakeholders:
► As a leader umbrella organization in its changing institutional system, WHO is to renew
► We should be good listeners and ensure that no expertise is wasted by ignorance, no partnerships
are lost by indolence, no resistance is provoked by arrogance. We are here to serve health.
With my application I express that this is the job I am ready to do on a global level, with respect to
local cultures and pride, in trustworthy partnerships with member states, donors and allies.