24 May 2017 - Geneva, Switzerland - WHO Member States yesterday elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Dr Tedros) to serve as its next Director-General. For the first time in its history, its new Director-General was elected through a direct, but secret vote at the World Health Assembly. This election was exceptional, both procedurally but also politically as WHO Member States made one of the most critical appointments for current global health agenda, affecting the seven billion people in the world.
Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and is credited for innovative reforms to the health delivery system of a resource-poor country. Later on, he was appointed minister of foreign affairs from 2012-2016, a position which give him valuable diplomatic experience. Dr Tedros has also previously served as Chair of the Global Fund Board, Chair of the Programme Coordinating Board for UNAIDS, Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
In his final pitch for why he should lead WHO, Dr Tedros emphasized his experience as Ethiopia’s health minister, overseeing the expansion of basic health services across the country. In six years, he oversaw the building of more than 16,000 health posts, 3,000 health centers, and deployed more than 40,000 female health extension workers. This innovative work done under his leadership was further supported by several of the Stop TB Partnership’s TB REACH initiative’s work in accelerating active case finding in Ethiopia, in partnership with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).
Dr Tedros has also promised that transparency will be at the heart of the WHO once he takes charge.
In September 2016, Dr. Tedros addressed the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board in New York where he delivered a very strong message, committing to work with the Stop TB Partnership towards ending TB.
Welcoming his appointment, Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership said, "A new era begins for WHO. Dr. Tedros will be leading the organization for at least the next five years and I hope and dream for many successes and achievements. I expect these years to be the ‘hottest’ in the TB world as we must see accelerated efforts in scaling up efforts, significant decreases in TB epidemiology and a huge increase in numbers of lives saved.
As we both promised in front of our Stop TB Board, the Partnership and WHO will work hand in hand and support each other in an enhanced, collaborative and transparent manner starting from day one of the transition period for Dr Tedros. We will do it, and we will end TB together."
Dr Tedros will start his new term on 1 July 2017.