Could This be a New Era for Global Health?

For the first time in history an African will be leader of the WHO. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian with an impressive CV. The 52 year old used to be Ethiopian minister for foreign affairs as well as chairman of the board of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria. He also boasts a PhD in community health and is a recognized malaria researcher.

During his address to delegates before voting, Dr Tedros said:

 “Knowing survival to adulthood cannot be taken for granted, and refusing to accept that people should die because they are poor.”

Not only was this the first time an African has had the WHO’s top post, it was the first time a vote for the job has taken place. Previously the WHO board has made the decision. The changes have come as a consequence of the Ebola epidemic and the perceived ‘sluggish response’ to the crisis. This is a step towards transparency and let’s hope Tedros’ leadership is equally honest.

His top five priorities in his new job are:

  • Advancing universal health coverage
  • Ensuring WHO responds rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks and emergencies
  • Putting the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents at the centre of global health and development
  • Helping nations address the effects of climate change on health
  • Making the agency transparent and accountable

A lot has changed over the past decade, which is the duration of this post, lets hope he achieves his goals and drives improved health for all.

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Which of his five priorities do see see as most important?