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25 May 2017, 01:45 | Audrey Hill
WHO elects new chief to lead reform
He is the first African to lead the health agency and also the first director-general to come from a developing country and to not hold a medical degree, according to STAT.
In the last weeks of his campaign to become WHO's next director-general, Larry Gostin, an adviser to his rival, Dr. David Nabarro, raised concerns about whether Tedros was a suitable leader, accusing him of covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia.
The victor, who will serve a five-year term, takes office July 1, succeeding Margaret Chan, who has held the post since November 2006.
The list of three shortlisted candidates also included Sania Nishtar from Pakistan. Later he chaired the advisory committee set up by the outgoing WHO Director General Margaret Chan, which put in place a blueprint for reform.
"It's a victory day for Ethiopia and for Africa", Negash Kebret Botora, Ethiopian ambassador to the United Nations, toldReuters.
The World Health Organizationelected the first African to head the agency. She served briefly as health minister, and has worked on noncommunicable diseases for years as head of a nongovernmental organization. WHO brings much needed technical knowledge, and expertise to the world and has the ability to mobilize worldwide actors and resources.
As the Ethiopian foreign minister, he was also involved in the negotiations for the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the UN. There were calls from some for the abolition of the World Health Organization and the creation of a more effective body.
In his appeal to delegates before the voter Tuesday, Tedros noted that when he was a 7-year-old growing up in Ethiopia, his younger brother died of a common childhood disease.
The director-general of World Health Organization wields considerable power in setting medical priorities that affect billions of people and declaring when crises like disease outbreaks evolve into global emergencies.
"We know that the next health emergency is not a question of "if" but "when", U.S. health secretary Tom Pricesaid in Geneva earlier Tuesday.
Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, a WHO Global Ambassador for non-communicable diseases, said he looked forward to working with Tedros on issues like tobacco use, road safety and the prevention of drowning.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn appointed Tedros as Minister of Foreign Affairs, in November 2012.
Tedros said he preferred to see global agencies including WHO, the World Bank, GAVI vaccine alliance and Global Fund as part of one "big envelope".
During a campaign that called for more openness at WHO, Tedros promised to champion transparency once elected.
Corrects this entry to say that he was seven years old.
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