A former Minister of Health in Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the first African to emerge as the Director-General of the World Health Organisation.
Ghebreyesus who will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017 won the election in a closed door meeting in Geneva,Switzerland on Tuesday.
He edged out Britain’s candidate, David Nabarro, to head the health agency.
Ghebreyesus garnered 133 votes from the 185 WHO member states who officials said were eligible to cast ballots in the vote to succeed Margaret Chan, who has been at the helm of the Geneva-based U.N. agency since November 2006.
Prior to his election, 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.
The agency stated that Ghebreyesus as a minister of health, led efforts which led to the creation of 3,500 health centres, 16,000 health posts and the expansion of the country’s health workforce by 38,000 health extension workers.
The agency stated,“ 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, Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organisations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.”
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