Ahead of leadership vote, WHO board nominates Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for re-election

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Updated: Jan 25, 2022, 06:24 PM(IST)

World Health Organization (WHO) Ethiopian Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press briefing on Covid-19 Photograph:( AFP )

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Currently, he is the sole nominee for the position after the procedural vote held on Tuesday

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been nominated for the position of the World Health Organization chief before re-election in May.

Currently, he is the sole nominee for the position after the procedural vote held on Tuesday. He is all but guaranteed a second term.

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Patrick Amoth, head of the WHO's 34-member executive board, said "I'd like to congratulate Dr Tedros for your nomination as the DG (director-general) for an additional period of five years, as from 16th August 2022."

As COVID-19 has spread, 56-year-old Tedros has become the public face of the global fight against it, holding near-daily news conferences, calling heads of state when the virus reaches their doorstep to offer support and tweeting frequently to his 1.6 million followers.

Tedros was under fire for his lavish public praise of China’s leadership for its efforts to combat the coronavirus disease came even as evidence mounted that Chinese officials had silenced whistleblowers and suppressed information about the outbreak. 

Former US President Donald Trump had accused him of being “China-centric” and suspended American funding of the health agency.

Also read | US, UK, along with 12 countries, criticise WHO's report on COVID origin

China, whose combined contributions to the WHO’s current two-year budget were due to be about a third of what the United States was expected to pay, has stood by the WHO chief.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, WHO, under the leadership of director-general Tedros, has been actively fulfilling its responsibilities and upholding an objective, scientific and impartial position,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Also read | How China deceived WHO chief Tedros over coronavirus

The son of a soldier, Tedros was born in Asmara, which became the capital of Eritrea after independence from Ethiopia in 1991. 

Tedros lost his younger brother to a childhood disease that the WHO said was suspected to be measles. A microbiologist by training, Tedros served as Ethiopia’s minister of health and then foreign minister.

In 2017, Tedros became the first African to lead the WHO, winning the top job despite potentially damaging questions surfacing late in the race about whether he had any role in restricting human rights or covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia. He denied the accusations, as did Ethiopia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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