Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Ethiopian wins vote to be first African head of WHO

Ethiopian wins vote to be first African head of WHO

In her remarks Tuesday to the World Health Assembly, who will soon vote to choose the United Nations health agency's next leader, Nishtar cited her past experience leading non-governmental organizations, saying that would help her bridge the numerous polarizing situations in public health.

Member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia to replace Margaret Chan as director general.

In his address to delegates, Dr. Tedros said it was nearly "pure luck" that he was competing to lead WHO. "This will be your historic vote to put health above politics".

Africa, known in the East and the West as "dark continent" is now set to run and manage the World's number one premier health institution, the WHO.

Nabarro, a WHO insider who has worked for 40 years in worldwide public health, pitched himself as a "global candidate". But Tedros has been criticized for being part of the government that alledgedly committed human rights abuses. The former Ethiopian health minister takes over as the WHO works to restore its credibility following the Ebola epidemic.

If no candidate is elected outright, which requires at least two-thirds of votes, a simple majority will decide between the two front-runners. The third contestant Pakistani physician, Sania Nishtar got 38 votes.

Tedros will begin his five-year term after Margaret Chan, a former Hong Kong health director, steps down on June 30 having spent 10 years in the job. Gostin admits that is a possibility.

The candidates have been campaigning for this fiercely contested post for the past year-and-a-half. But Gostin says as an academic he had to insist on the highest possible standards.

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Lorenzana said the group's presence in the mountainous areas of Marawi City wwas not unknown to government forces. In Mindanao, there are various other conflicts and struggles not related to ISIS or the Maute group and ASG.

In his remarks to the Health Assembly earlier today, Tedros mentioned the death of his younger brother to a neglected tropical disease when he was a child, and said it is pure luck that he survived.

The Southeast Asian region said it expects him to focus on strengthening programs for developing countries. One of the primary reasons that the WHO's initial response to the Ebola outbreak was "not competent" is that "they didn't have the right people in the right places", said Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also advocated that the Ebola crises offers a unique opportunity to strengthen primary health care and highlight the importance of health as a critical security issue. He recently drew fire for allegedly covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia. The new director-general will have to build up confidence in the organization and ramp up funding, he says.

The WHO is perhaps the most influential United Nations agency, charged with emergency response and shaping baseline policies for treatment of major health challenges.

Here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian leaders Including the prime minister, the foreign minister and the President have congratulated Tedros for his success.

The election was the first conducted by the W.H.O. under more open and democratic rules. It began with the nominations of six candidates in September a year ago.

The campaign received far more press attention than usual. "This is what we do in democracies".

Still, Tedros' candidacy also drew controversy.

"This election has been unprecedented in that it brought transparency to the organization, and even greater legitimacy to the director-general", Tedros said.

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