Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

World Health Organization elects Ethiopia's Ghebreyesus as its new director


He received more than half the votes in the first round and then won a decisive second-round election, beating Britain's David Nabarro to the job.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had near-solid support from Africa and substantial backing in other regions, particularly among health professionals who knew his record of accomplishments or who had worked with him on such issues as increasing vaccination rates in poor countries.

Dr. Tedros will take the place of Dr. Margaret Chan, who will end her 10-year tenure at the end of June.

Ethiopia's former health and foreign minister has been elected as the new director general of World Health Organisation (WHO) at an election held on Tuesday afternoon in Geneva.

But who is Tedros?

Tedros said the "mindset" of the organisation is what is important, "do we belong to the same vision?"

Tedros said he preferred to see global agencies including WHO, the World Bank, GAVI vaccine alliance and Global Fund as part of one "big envelope".

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Last week Tedros was accused by his main rival Navarro's advisors of allegedly covering up three cholera outbreaks while he was the health minister in Ethiopia. I have no doubt in your ability and the will to deliver.

"If we have as many countries as possible that can contribute. any amount, I think that will help", he added.

During the campaign, Dr. Tedros easily received wide backing from all 50 plus African countries - a sign that the continent had settled on fronting unique candidates for worldwide high profile jobs.

Among his priorities as head of WHO include advancing universal health coverage, ensuring rapid and effective responses to disease outbreaks and emergencies and moving to a more transparent and accountable agency. Chan will be retiring as the head of World Health Organization after serving the agency for a decade.

After the election, Louise Mushikiwabo took to Twitter: "Congratulations @DrTedros.Africa is proud of you".

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

In April this year, Dr Tedros met President Kagame in Kigali and said, "Such a lovely day in Kigali, Rwanda. Humbled by its united voice to support the campaign". Tedros won over cardiologist Sania Nishtar from Pakistan, and World Health Organization veteran David Nabarro from Britain, who led United Nations efforts during the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

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