There is no commodity in the world more precious than health. An institution charged with defending the health of 7 billion people therefore bears great responsibility and must be held to high standards. These are the words of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO).
Stating that he stands together for a healthier world, Dr. Tedros says WHO’s work is about serving people, about serving humanity. Most importantly, it’s about fighting to ensure the health of people as a basic human right.
“I envision a world in which everyone can live healthy, productive lives, regardless of who they are or where they live. I believe the global commitment to sustainable development – enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals – offers a unique opportunity to address the social, economic and political determinants of health and improve the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.”
In the times when the word is witnessing the coronavirus pandemic, achieving this vision will require a strong, effective WHO that is able to meet emerging challenges and achieve the health objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, for we need a WHO – fit for the 21st century – that belongs to all, equally.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017.
He is the first WHO Director-General to have been elected from multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and is the first person from the WHO African Region to serve as WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.
Immediately after taking office on 1 July 2017 Dr. Tedros outlined five key priorities for the Organization: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO.
Prior to his election as WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016. In this role he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012, where he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system. All roads lead to universal health coverage for Dr. Tedros, and he has demonstrated what it takes to expand access to health care with limited resources.
Beyond Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros’ global leadership on malaria, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health has been immensely impactful. He was elected as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Board in 2009, and previously served as Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.
Born in the city of Asmara, Eritrea, Dr. Tedros holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London.