AU Backs Ethiopia's Foreign Minister for WHO Director-General

AU Backs Ethiopia's Foreign Minister for WHO Director-General

June 01, 2016
Press Release

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 24 May 2016: The African Union has thrown its full weight behind the candidacy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for the position of Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, was in Geneva, Switzerland, to support the official launch of the candidacy of Dr. Adhanom, as Africa’s candidate for the coveted position. During the launching ceremony, she argued that “the WHO needs a new leader with a strong track record of achieving results. What we need is a Director-General who can effectively lead this global organization towards achieving meaningful impact.”

The AUC Chairperson emphasized that Dr. Tedros is the best Africa has to offer particularly that he is considered a visionary leader, transformer and a diplomat par excellence.”

The candidacy of Dr. Tedros Adhanom is an Executive Council Decision, which was formally endorsed by the Heads of State and Government, during the 26th AU Summit held in January 2016, in Addis Ababa.

Announcing his candidacy on the margins of the 69th World Health Assembly, in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Tedros shared his national and international experience, as well as his vision. He noted that current health challenges are rather opportunities to work together for healthier societies.

Citing results that Ethiopia achieved when he was Health Minister, he said, “… the maternal mortality rate was slashed by 69 percent, and infant mortality by two-thirds, and there was a significant reduction in the prevalence of HIV, malaria, and TB.”

Also outlining his international credentials, Dr. Tedros said that he led and transformed the Global Fund during its transition; and also chaired the UNAIDS Board, the Roll Back Malaria Board, and the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

“I have played a leadership role in other global health institutions. I believe my national and international experience will be an advantage in implementing reform, especially at the WHO level.” He highlighted, as he painted his vision for healthier world, with a rights-based approach for universal health.

The new WHO Director-General will be appointed during the 70th World Health Assembly scheduled to take place from 22-31 May 2017. The new Director-General will be taking over from Dr. Margaret Chan who was appointed in November 2006, and has served two terms of five years.


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