Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to remain head of WHO

The 56-year-old Ethiopian is set to serve his second term as WHO chief after being nominated as the sole candidate by 28 countries.

The World Health Organization has said its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is running unopposed for a second five-year term.

Tedros, 56, the first African to head the United Nations health agency, has overseen its complex response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has overshadowed his tenure. Trained in biology and infectious diseases with a doctorate in community health, he is also the first head of the WHO who is not a doctor.

“Member states proposed only one candidate before the September 23, 2021 deadline: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,” the WHO said in a statement on Friday.

The UN health agency made the announcement after the deadline for nominations for the next term expired last month and 28 countries proposed Tedros’s name: more than half of them Europeans and three Africans: Botswana, Kenya and Rwanda. .

The formal selection of the next director general takes place at the next WHO assembly in May.

Tedros, Ethiopia’s former Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs, who goes by his first name, received strong backing when France and Germany announced their support shortly after the nomination period closed.

The nominations from Germany and Spain said the WHO’s strengthening in the wake of the pandemic “must continue with full and undivided commitment,” and said the organization needed “strong, pragmatic and visionary leadership.”

Tedros has repeatedly raised concerns about Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict, and the Ethiopian government rejected his candidacy because of his criticism and positions in the former Tigray-dominated national government. He has accused him of supporting rival Tigray forces.

In addition, his leadership was criticized by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, who began to remove the United States from the WHO, accusing him of being a puppet of Beijing and of covering up the outbreak of the virus.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden halted the pullout, while Tedros has also upset China by demanding greater transparency about the pandemic outbreak and putting a renewed focus on the possibility that it may have leaked from a Wuhan lab.

Tedros has also been a leading voice in urging rich countries with large stocks of COVID-19 vaccines and big pharmaceutical companies to do more to improve access to strokes in the developing world, a call that has largely been neglected.

He has also called for a moratorium on booster injections so that more doses can be made available faster to poorer countries, which has also mostly fallen on deaf ears.

The WHO says that more than 60 countries are giving about one million booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine each day, about three times the number of first-time vaccine doses given daily in low-income countries.

WHO Sexual Abuse Controversy

In recent weeks, the WHO has faced mounting pressure over revelations in September from two independent experts who found that 21 WHO workers were accused of sexually abusing people during the agency’s response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2018 and 2010. out of a total of 83 alleged perpetrators linked to the mission.

The Code Blue Campaign, which campaigns to end sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers and other staff members, called this finding the largest finding of sexual abuse in a single initiative. of the UN in a single country or time period.

On Thursday, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, said it had temporarily suspended payments funding WHO’s humanitarian operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the wake of the disclosures, a move that could affect millions of people. euros used for programs such as emergency response or polio eradication. and response to the pandemic in the African country.


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