Tedros Adhanom elected as a new WHO DG with 133 votes

The Ethiopian candidate for the Director-General position of the World Health Organization ( WHO) wins the contest obtaining 133 votes against the British candidate David Nabarro and the Pakistani candidate Samia Nishtar.

The election was held at the headquarters of WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday between 2 pm-5 pm GMT. For the first time, the Director General of WHO was elected by the general assembly of member states, which is known as the World Health Assembly.

On Tuesday, 185 member states were present and voting. The votes were cast in secret and with paper ballots.

In the first round voting, Tedros Adhanom received 95 votes, while Nabarro and Nishtar received 52 and 38, respectively. As neither obtained 2/3rd of the votes – 122 votes, second round voting was held between the two top candidates.

In the second round voting, Tedros received 121 votes while Nabarro followed with 62 votes. Still neither reached the 2/3rd mark.

In the third round voting, a candidate with 50%+1 votes would be declared winner. However, Tedros received 133 votes, Nabarro 50. The rest 2 abstained.

WHO officially announced Tedros as the next Director General of WHO for a five years term as of July 1, 2017.

Photo - WHO Assembly after Tedros won election
Photo – WHO Assembly after Tedros won election

The news release by WHO described Tedros as follows:

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

Prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012-2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005-2012. He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board, and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, 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 3,500 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, 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.

As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.


Daniel Berhane

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