Health

World Health Assembly elects Tedros Ghebreyesus as new WHO Director-General

GENEVA: The Member States of World Health Organisation on Tuesday elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of WHO.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

A Pakistani expert in non-communicable diseases, a British physician and the Ethiopian former health minister were three finalists vying for the top job at the WHO in the election.

Prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia, from 2012-2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia, from 2005-2012.

He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board, and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

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As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of the country’s health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16,000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38,000 health extension workers; and initiated 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, Dr Tedros Adhanom 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.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.

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