Ethiopia's Tedros Adhanom elected WHO DG

Adjust Comment Print

An Ethiopian medical doctor, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been elected the new Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

China's Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, WHO, addresses her statement, during the 70th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, May 22, 2017.

A informal advisor for rival candidate David Nabarro accused Tedros of covering up three cholera epidemics in his country of Ethiopia, where he served as health minister.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus beat Briton David Nabarro and Sania Nishtar of Pakistan in the race to be named World Health Organization director-general.

Tedros, who prefers to be called by his first name, will be taking over the position from Dr.

"But WHO made quick course corrections, brought the three outbreaks under control, and gave the world its first Ebola vaccine that confers substantial protection".

But the former Ethiopian minister's campaign has not been without controversy.

The WHO said that while Tedros was Ethiopia's health minister, he led comprehensive health system reforms that expanded the country's health system, including the creation of 3,500 health centers and 16,000 health posts and boosting the health workforce by 38,000.

Warning Signs Installed In Steveston After Sea Lion Incident
Tourists in British Columbia got a bit of a scare when a sea lion grabbed a girl and dragged her into the water. But the family did tell CBC that contrary to impressions, it was someone else feeding the sea lion, not them.

Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr. Margaret Chan from China, who has been WHO's director-general since January 1, 2007.

Tedros is a former health and foreign affairs minister from Ethiopia. As Ethiopia's former minister of health, he has been accused of human rights abuses, improper distribution of food supplies during starvation and intentionally covering up cholera outbreaks that may caused thousands of people to die.

In a last pitch before voting began, Tedros appealed to ministers by promising to represent their interests and to ensure more countries got top jobs at the Geneva-based WHO. "WHO is the undisputed leader of global health".

Nabarro tweeted his congratulations to Tedros after the vote, writing, "I urge everyone to unite behind him & his vision".

She also said, "I can not say I am one who voted for you", but that "we too will be drinking a glass this evening". "The world is putting its faith in Dr. Tedros to do that, and the stakes could not be higher-now, we will see if he can deliver".

As it stands, 185 member states attending WHO's World Health Assembly are eligible to cast ballots Tuesday afternoon. Countries should also work to improve collection of health data and make health strategies more accountable. Among other pledges, Ghebreyesus said he would work "tirelessly to fulfill WHO's promise of universal health coverage".

Geopolitics presumably also shut Taiwan out of the World Health Assembly this week, since China believes other countries and global organizations should not treat the "renegade province" as a separate country.

As director-general of WHO, Tedros will be responsible for deciding which medical issues will take priority and when crises like disease outbreaks will be treated as global emergencies.