23 May 2017

Nigeria: WHO Elects First African Director-General

Photo: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus/Facebook
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

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

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.

He had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012-2016 and as Minister of Health from 2005-2012. He also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board, and co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Mr. Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of Ethiopia's health system, including the expansion of the country's health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16 000 health posts.

The reform also led to the expansion of the East African country's health workforce by 38 000 health extension workers; and initiation of financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM's reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.

There had been fears that Mr. Ghebreyesus would not get enough votes to become the D-G as the political drama Geneva caused tension among health experts who feared whether politics could outweigh accountability and experience in the casting of the ballots.

Earlier this month, a last-minute attack on the candidacy of Mr. Ghebreyesus raised questions about whether wealthy western powers were prepared to accept African leadership of global health institutions, as he was accused of covering up some epidemic outbreaks in his country during his tenure as a minister.

Mr. Ghebreyesus will succeed Margaret Chan, who has been WHO's Director-General since January 1, 2007.

More on This

Why Kenya Supported Ethiopian for Top WHO Post

Kenya pitched for Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom to be the next head of the World Health Organisation because he has… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Premium Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.