Africa: Tedros Campaign to Head WHO Launched by African Union in Geneva
May 25, 2016
Geneva — On this sunny Tuesday in the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world, Africa took center stage presenting a united front in support of the candidature of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to head the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, who previously served as his country’s health minister from 2005 to 2012, was designated at the January meeting of the African Union summit as the continent’s sole candidate to become the next WHO director general.
At today’s press conference at the Geneva headquarters of WHO, the candidate was flanked by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who chairs the African Union Commission, and Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.
Foreign Minister Tedros told assembled reporters and observers that a fresh view is needed to efficiently tackle the world health challenges. While noting that Africa has never had the opportunity to lead the UN agency, he emphasized that his candidacy is based on merit as demonstrated by a respected track record both at home and in the international arena.
A leaflet distributed at the press conference included an hearty endorsement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “Dr Tedros’ signature approach takes innovation, collaboration and community ownership as its core principles. The transformative changes he brought to Ethiopia’s health sector are testimonies to his unique leadership style that gives primacy to county ownership and adaptive home-grown solutions,” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying.
Selection of the next WHO director general takes place in May 2017. In the intervening 12 months, Tedros said he will convey his platform to the world, key elements of which include universal access to basic healthcare, emphasis on policies to improve women and girls health, emergency-response readiness and consolidation of the WHO funding structure.
The press conference was held on the margins of this week’s World Health Assembly, the decision-making body for WHO which includes delegations from all the 194-member states.
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