After winning the most votes from 186 member states, the next director general of the World Health Organization will be Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia. He will be the first African to head up the UN agency.
At the end of June, He is going to take in charge the organization after Margaret Chan, that lead the WHO for 10-year and after she has been criticised for the too slow response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and also missing the key warning signs about the severity of the outbreak that began in December 2013. The outbeak killed more than 11,000 people.
Probably as consequences for this criticsm that Dr Tedros, in his speech, promised to respond to future emergencies “rapidly and effectively” and also promised to to stand up for the rights of the poor. “All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this.”
Filling the gap between the developed and developing world in health coverage and making access to affordable care when and where it is needed is going to be, he says, central to his presidency.
He also address the World General Assembly saying “I promise I will get up every day, determined to make a difference… I am ready to serve.”
His top five priorities in his new job are:
- Advancing universal health coverage
- Ensuring WHO responds rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks and emergencies
- Putting the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents at the centre of global health and development
- Helping nations address the effects of climate change on health
- Making the agency transparent and accountable
His track records are impressive: as Minister of Health, Ethiopia (2005-2012) , 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 3500 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 (2012–2016), 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.
However his opponents, even if without evidences, have accused him of covering up three cholera epidemics in Ethiopia,