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British Politician Backs Africa's Choice for World Health Post


The former British Secretary for International Development and Conservative member of Parliament is supporting Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom over the UK's David Nabarro in tomorrow's vote for a new head of the World Health Organization. Despite British backing for Nabarro, Mitchell says Tedros will implement reforms to improve the health of billions – and should be at the helm of WHO when the next pandemic hits.

The World Health Organization will soon have a new head. Ethiopia's former health minister Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the outstanding candidate to lead the organization.

The election couldn't come at a more crucial time for the WHO. Smarting from its failures during the Ebola epidemic, it needs urgent reform if it is to make the impact we require.

On a recent visit to London, Bill Gates warned that the world faces the very real threat of a future pandemic. The issue is not if but when.

There are three impressive candidates left in the race to lead the WHO. One of them, Dr David Nabarro, is a Briton and is supported by our health secretary. Nabarro is a good man who has extensive experience in the field of international public health. He is a fine international civil servant. But by convention the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - of which Britain is one - do not supply the heads of such agencies.

It is to another candidate, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that the world should turn. He has the potential and the ability truly to transform the WHO. By doing so, we will improve the health of billions of people around the world.