22 May 2017

Africa's Final Push for Election of Tedros as WHO Leader

Photo: Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance
Then British Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and then UK Secretary for International for International Development Andrew Mitchell at a 2011 vaccine alliance conference to promote childhood immunizations.

Geneva — The Chair of African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has urged the world to elect Dr. Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia as the next Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), saying he is the best-qualified candidate to lead the global health agency.

"With Dr. Tedros, WHO will get two in one: a person who has a solid understanding of global health and a consummate diplomat," Mahamat said. "He has an unmatched capacity to rally the world around health issues."

The AU chair was speaking during Africa Day celebrations in Geneva on 21 May 2017, where he reaffirmed the support of African Union membership to Dr. Tedros. He urged the whole world to back the former Ethiopian health and foreign affairs minister in the election to be held in the Swiss city this week, during the 70th World Health Assembly.

The Africa Day gathering was attended by leaders and diplomats from across Africa, who threw their weight behind Dr. Tedros.

Algerian Minister for Health, Population and Hospital Reform, Abdelmalek Boudiaf, said the gathering in Geneva was a manifestation of Africa's unanimous support for Dr. Tedros. "To make WHO robust and effective, he is the man to elect," he said.

Dr. Tedros thanked those gathered for the event, saying he appreciated their unequivocal support.

If elected to lead WHO, his top priorities are: a transformed WHO, universal health coverage, health security, women children and adolescents, and health impacts of climate and environmental change.

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