Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian academic and politician who has served in the government of Ethiopia as Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2012. Previously he was Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012.
Born: 1965, Asmara, Eritrea
Party: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Education: University of London, University of Nottingham,
Tedros joined the Ministry of Health in 1986, after graduating from the University of Asmara. An internationally recognized malaria researcher,as Minister of Health, Tedros received praise for a number of system-wide health reforms that substantially improved access to health services and key outcomes. Amongst them were hiring and training roughly 35,000 female health extension workers, cutting infant mortality from 123 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 88 in 2011, and increasing the hiring of midwives.In July 2009, he was elected Board Chair of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a 2-year term.
In November 2012, Tedros was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Early life and education
Tedros in 1965 in Asmara. As a child, he recalls being "fully cognisant of the needless suffering and deaths" caused by malaria. In 1986 he received his Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Biology from the University of Asmara, and joined the Ministry of Health of the Derg as a laboratory technician.
After the fall of Mengistu Haile Mariam, Tedros returned to university to pursue a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He subsequently received a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham in 2000, with his doctoral dissertation being "The effects of dams on malaria transmission in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia, and appropriate control measures"
Head of the Tigray Regional Health Bureau
In 2001, Tedros was appointed head of the Tigray Regional Health Bureau. As head of the bureau, Tedros was credited with making a 22.3% reduction in AIDS prevalence in the region, and a 68.5% reduction in meningitis cases. He oversaw a campaign to improve ICT access that installed computers and internet connectivity to most of the region's hospitals and clinics, whereas they had not been connected before. Health care staffing was increased by 50%. Immunization for measles was raised to 98% of all children and total immunisation for all children under 12 months was raised to 74%.
The percentage of government funding for the Tigray Regional Health Bureau was increased to 65%, with foreign donors' percentage falling to 35%. Overall, 68.5% of the population was provided with health care services within 10 km.
State Minister for Health
In late 2003 he was appointed a State Minister (deputy minister) for Health and served for just over a year.
Minister of Health
Tedros was appointed Minister of Health in October 2005 by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Despite the many challenges faced by the health ministry in terms of poverty, poor infrastructure, and a declining global economic situation, progress in health indicators was considered "impressive" in Ethiopia. During the period 2005-2008, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health built 4,000 health centres, trained and deployed more than 30,000 health extension workers, and developed a new cadre of hospital management professionals. Furthermore, in 2010, Ethiopia was chosen by the US State Department as one of the US Global Health Initiative Plus countries, where the US will support innovative global health efforts.
Upon assuming office in 2005, Tedros inherited a ministry with a strong vision but little capability to meet that vision. The Ministry was somewhat beholden to a donor community that was vertically focused on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria programs when Tedros first assumed his leadership position with a horizontal, systems-based agenda. With little economic surplus, the country lacked capacity to build its own health systems, and much of the Ethiopian human resources for health had fled the country- for example, there are more Ethiopian doctors in the Chicago metropolitan area than in Ethiopia.
As Minister of Health, Tedros was able to form a close relationship with former American president Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. This ground was one of partnership built on engagement of equal partners. Tedros brought to the partnership the leadership to sustain focus on the selected agenda, the political clout to facilitate enabling legislation as needed, and first-hand knowledge of what was needed. President Clinton and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) brought to the partnership a commitment to assist Tedros’ priorities and their network, which provided sources money, expertise, and credibility. As a result, Tedros was able to restructure the Ministry in order to better meet its goal
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