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Ethiopia's Tedros elected first African to head WHO

Ethiopia's Tedros elected first African to head WHO

Ethiopia's Tedros elected first African to head WHO

During his tenure as health minister, Dr Ghebreyesus is credited with leading a comprehensive and successful reform of Ethiopia's health system, including the expansion of the country's health infrastructure.

Tedro defeated Britain's Dr. David Nabarro, a United Nations veteran, in the final round of voting on Tuesday.

"WHO's success is vital to health around the world, and Dr. Tedros will have to restore its reputation as a competent, professional and accountable organization", said Lawrence Gostin, a professor at Georgetown University who became embroiled in controversy with Tedros a few days before the election, alleging his complicity in covering up a cholera outbreak in Ethiopia.

He succeeds China's Dr. Margaret Chan, who has been at the helm of World Health Organization for 10 years. There were two abstentions. His fellow countrymen could be seen hugging and high-fiving each other shortly after he made it past the second round, in which Nishtar was eliminated.

Tedros will begin his five-year term after Margaret Chan, a former Hong Kong health director, steps down on June 30. Amongst them were hiring and training roughly 40,000 female health extension workers, cutting infant mortality from 123 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 88 in 2011, and increasing the hiring of health cadres including medical doctors and midwives.

The election now moves to a third round of voting; Tedros must win two-thirds of the votes to win the post.

Tedros replaces Margaret Chan, who was criticized for the WHO's slow response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

"The WHO is perhaps the most influential United Nations agency, charged with emergency response and shaping baseline policies for treatment of major health challenges".

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The former Ethiopian Health Minister (from 2005 to 2012) and later Foreign Affairs Minister of Ethiopia from 2012 to 2016, emerged top yesterday at the World Health Organisation Assembly.

Tedros was ahead after the first round, winning 95 votes.

Nishtar was last to appeal for votes. And he said his "landslide" victory (garnering 133 votes of a possible 185 or so in the secret ballot) give his office "legitimacy" and "confidence".

He also published his scientific insight in the British Medical Journal stating " The challenges we face today-including achieving universal health coverage, managing the triple burden of communicable and non-communicable disease, combined with health emergencies, and addressing the health effects of climate change-require bold action".

She says "I will come to your countries not to cut ribbons but to work with you".

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.

"WHO must evolve to be more transparent, responsive, effectively managed, adequately resourced", Dr. Ghebreyesus said in his final pitch.

"I call on the new director-general to embrace a progressive, rights-based leadership of World Health Organization", he added.

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