Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian is New Who Director


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister of health, was elected Tuesday as the next director-general of the World Health Organization, becoming the first non-medical doctor and the first African tapped to lead an influential agency that helps set health priorities worldwide.

Tedros is a public-health expert who has formerly been both a health minister and a foreign minister in Ethiopia's government, and he will lead the WHO for a 5-year term.

Health ministers and other senior envoys to WHO's annual World Health Assembly elected Tedros over Dr. David Nabarro of Britain, a United Nations veteran, in a third and final round of voting.

He received 133 of the votes cast by the health ministers of 186 countries.

Nishtar, a former Pakistani health minister, won praise for a strong campaign but was always considered a long shot.

Tedros was chosen as WHO's next leader by delegates participating in the ongoing 70th World Health Assembly (WHA).

"It's a victory day for Ethiopia and for Africa", Ethiopia's ambassador to the U.N.in Geneva Negash Kebret Botora told Reuters before Tedros, as he is widely known, was to take the floor at the WHO's annual ministerial assembly. UNAIDS will work closely with the new Director-General of WHO to advance progress in global health and end the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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He oversaw a drive to expand basic healthcare by building thousands of new clinics and boosting community-based health services.

WHO Director-General's election process was run in the new spirit of transparency sweeping global organisations.

Although some people see Dr Tedros as a controversial pick, many others point to his impressive CV and track record, and insist he is the best person to lead the world's "guardian of global health".

Following last-minute pitches from the three finalists, the doors were closed at the World Health Assembly for voting to begin.

He also called for the full implementation of WHO's health emergencies program and International Health Regulations (IHR).

The new head of the World Health Organization says his "central priority" will be working to achieve universal health coverage, while pledging to "provide value for money" and reform the United Nations agency.

Second to speak was Nabarro, who acknowledged that some have felt "let down" by World Health Organization and want it to be more relevant, responsive and reliable.