Africa: WHO Director-General's Remarks at the 148th session of the Executive Board

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Geneva — On Thursday 21 January, the day following the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, the leading U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, officially participated for the first time in this week's meeting of the WHO Executive Board. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed him - and praised the United States renewed engagement as a member state of the global United Nations health agency.

Thank you, my brother Tony, and welcome to the WHO Executive Board as head of delegation for the United States of America. Thank you, my friend, for your personal support for WHO over many years, and especially in the past year.

We have benefited immensely from your participation as a member of our regular global health leaders calls, since the start of the pandemic. And thank you for your incredible leadership against the pandemic in the United States.

This is a good day for WHO, and a good day for global health.

I send my deep thanks and warm congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris, and to the American people.

Thank you, President Biden, for honouring your pledge to maintain the membership of the United States in WHO.

And thank you for your commitment to join the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and COVAX.

In my report to the Executive Board on Monday, I said that we must work together as one family to ensure all countries can start vaccinating health workers and other high-risk groups in the first 100 days of 2021.

With your commitment, we are one step closer.

Since WHO’s founding in 1948, the United States has played a vital role in global health, and the American people have made enormous contributions to the health of the world’s people.

We look forward to continuing this partnership, as I know all Member States do.

We have a lot of work to do and lessons to learn, to end the pandemic and to meet the long list of global health challenges we face – but the world will be better able to meet them with you.

Tony, we send our support and best wishes to you, President Biden, Vice President Harris, the new administration and the American people as you work together to save lives and bring the pandemic under control.

I assure you of WHO’s continued commitment to support you with science, solutions, solidarity and service.

WHO is a family of nations. And we are all glad that the United States is staying in the family.

I thank you.

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