Members States of the World Health Organization (WHO) have elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of WHO.
The election, reported to have taking place in a closed door session in which the health ministers of 185 of the world’s countries cast their ballots in secret.
Dr. Tedros who received an overwhelming support from health ministers across the globe leading to the election overpowered the British global health expert Dr. David Nabarro, after two rounds of voting by winning 121 votes. Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist and expert in noncommunicable diseases, was eliminated after a first round with 38 votes.
“The overwhelming nature of Dr Tedros victory by more than 2/3 of member states is a clear mandate for WHO and global health transformation” Mukesh Kapila, Professor Global Health & Humanitarian tweeted immediately after the official announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.
He will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, whose decade-long tenure will end 30 June next year.
Prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General,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.
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 3,500 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.
Kobby Blay is the chief health editor at Ghanahealthnest.com. A professional practicing nurse with specialty in mental health and focus for health communications, public health, medical/documentary photography, ICT and systems perspective for health improvement.