Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom formally announced on Tuesday his candidature as Africa’s sole contender for the chief position of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to be decided in May next year.
“It’s time for a director-general who has lived through some of the most pressing challenges facing our world today,” the former heath minister said in a press conference, part of this year’s World Health Assembly held at Geneva’s UN headquarters from May 23 to 28.
Dr Tedros served as health minister between 2005 and 2012. Holistic reforms in the country has slashed the maternal mortality rate by 69 percent, infant mortality by two-thirds, and resulted in a significant reduction in the prevalence of HIV, malaria, and TB in the country.
Dr Tedros also boasts substantial international credentials, chairing both the Global Fund and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership between 2009 and 2011 and 2007 and 2009 respectively.
The official hoped that this, combined with his in-depth understanding of the problems facing many developing countries today, would provide a new perspective on the global health paradigm.
Dr. Tedros highlighted that many opportunities existed to enhance global health cooperation.
He explained that ensuring basic health care for everyone, strengthening emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and enhancing policies that improve the lives and health of women and girls would form the backbone of his mandate, if elected as WHO chief in 2017.