Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus becomes 'first African' to lead World Health Organization

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Mr. Ghebreyesus, who was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia and will begin his five-year term on 1 July, was elected Tuesday as the first African to occupy the position.

Dr Tedros said his vision as the new director general was of "a world in which everyone can lead health and productive lives, regardless of who they are or where they live".

The delegates chose Ghebreyesus over U.K.'s Dr. David Nabarro, in the final round of election. Tedros received 133 votes to Nabarro's 50, with two abstentions.

Tedros was ahead after the first round, winning 95 votes. Previous WHO chiefs were selected by the agency's executive board, and the assembly's approval was essentially a rubber stamp.

He said "all roads lead to universal health coverage". He said only about half of the world's population has access to health care "without impoverishment".

Like the other two candidates, Nishtar promised to make WHO accountable, saying she was credited for bringing transparency to public health when she was a minister in Pakistan. "I will not rest until we have met this". Tedros succeeds Margaret Chan as new DG of the WHO.

The agency has stumbled in recent years, most notably in its error-prone response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The vote by 185 member states took place by secret ballot after the candidates made last minute pitches. The...

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that WHO needs to "move fast" in addressing the budget issues, such as through increasing support from groups like the World Bank and the Global Fund.

GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, hailed Tedros' "commitment to immunization", noting the boosting vaccination rates in Ethiopia. He's been recognized for his study of malaria in Ethiopia, and in 2011 became the first non-American to receive the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award.

Tedros, 52, was known for having drastically cut deaths from malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, and neonatal problems when he was Ethiopia's health minister.

Tedros, who campaigned as "Dr. Tedros", is not a medical doctor; he has a Ph.D.in community health.

Still, Tedros' candidacy also drew controversy. He was recently accused of covering up three cholera epidemics in Ethiopia, although there had been no solid evidence of this claim. He vowed to focus on the most needy and noted the importance of effective partnerships with health care providers. "It shows when we are united, we can do everything". He did not specify the disease, but said it easily could have been him instead.

Corrects this entry to say that he was seven years old.