Lusaka, Zambia — In recognition of his unwavering dedication to advancing global health and his transformative leadership during unprecedented crises, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), was bestowed with the prestigious 2023 CPHIA Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Health. This accolade was presented at the International Conference on Public Health in Africa conference, being held in Lusaka, Zambia.
The award recognizes Dr. Tedros's dedication to advancing global health and his transformative leadership during unprecedented crises.
Africa CDC's Director General, Dr. Jean Kasaye, lauded Dr. Tedros's transformative leadership, highlighting his ability to navigate intricate global health challenges with resilience and foresight. He emphasized Dr. Tedros' unwavering commitment to healthcare accessibility, equity, and combating emerging health threats, which has profoundly impacted the lives of millions worldwide. Dr. Tedros played a pivotal role in establishing the Africa CDC. His vocal support, as Ethiopia's Minister of Health in 2013, contributed to the African Union's Special Summit on HIV, TB, and Malaria (ATM) declaration in Abuja, recognizing the need for an Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Tedros said that a healthy Africa is the bedrock of the continent's development, peace, and stability. He urged African nations to harness their resources and invest in strengthening their health sectors.
The 2021 CPHIA Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Health was bestowed upon Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, recognizing his groundbreaking contributions to Ebola research. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award given by CPHIA, the African Union's official platform for continental collaboration and policy dialogue on public health. The award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health in Africa.
Dr. Tedros, the "Father of Africa CDC"
Elected as WHO Director-General in 2017, Dr. Tedros became the first person from Africa to lead the world's leading public health agency. He brought to this role a wealth of experience in healthcare policy and a deep-seated belief in the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare for all.
As Ethiopia's Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, Dr. Tedros spearheaded a comprehensive reform of the country's health system, laying the foundation for universal health coverage and expanding access to essential healthcare services even in remote areas.
In his subsequent role as Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016, Dr. Tedros elevated health as a central issue on the global political agenda. He played a pivotal role in negotiating the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, a landmark agreement that committed 193 countries to providing the necessary financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to health.
Throughout his career, Dr. Tedros consistently championed health equity, advocating for policies and programs that address disparities in healthcare access and outcomes. Prior to his WHO leadership, Dr. Tedros held numerous global health leadership positions, including Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.
Leading the Way Through Health Emergencies
Dr. Tedros's leadership was particularly crucial during times of health emergencies. He emphasized the importance of fortifying health systems to effectively respond to crises, directing WHO's resources and attention towards preparedness and response strategies. This approach was evident in WHO's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and various Ebola outbreaks, where his guidance helped to mitigate the impact of these devastating health crises.