World Health Organization gets African DG

Cheryl Sanders
June 1, 2017

Tedros - who campaigned under his first name - ultimately beat David Nabarro, the British candidate, after two rounds of voting by winning 121 votes. The two others were David Nabarro from the United Kingdom, and Sania Nishtar from Pakistan, in a process that began before September 2016.

Nabarro, a WHO insider who has worked for 40 years in worldwide public health, had pitched himself as a "global candidate".

The WHO Executive Board selected by vote three candidates for the post of Director-General of WHO. He said only about half of the world's population has access to health care "without impoverishment". Nine others are either in arrears on their dues or not represented at the 10-day gathering. Tedros, who goes by his first name, won the job over Sania Nishtar, a cardiologist from Pakistan, and David Nabarro, a World Health Organization veteran from Britain who led the U.N.'s response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

"... Tedros said he preferred to see global agencies including WHO, the World Bank, GAVI, [the Vaccine Alliance], and [the] Global Fund as part of one "big envelope.' 'We need to expand the donor base ..."

Tedros' resume says he holds a doctorate in community health and a master of science in immunology of infectious diseases.

Tedros served as Ethiopian health minister from 2005-2012 during when he managed to boost health care access across Ethiopia by creating over 3,500 health centres and deploying almost 40,000 Army of health workers. 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's a former health minister from Ethiopia. "We welcome your promises on transparency, delivery and reform", said Sally Davies, Britain's medical chief officer.

Nabarro, who had strong support from his native Britain and touted his decades of experience within the United Nations system, ultimately failed to persuade voters that the agency needed an insider in its top job.

The former health minister has been dogged by allegations that he covered up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia, and protesters have occasionally interrupted proceedings at the meeting in Geneva this week.

He succeeds China's Dr. Margaret Chan, who has been at the helm of World Health Organization for 10 years.

The two-term World Health Organization chief, who served for 10 years in office, took personal responsibility for the WHO's delayed response in 2014 to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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