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Dr. Tedros Adhanom Elected as the First African to Head the World Health Organization


Ethiopia’s former Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been elected as the new head of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

The seventieth session of WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, takes place on 22–31 May in Geneva, Switzerland. Attended by delegations from all Member States, the Health Assembly determined organizational policies and approved the proposed program budget. More importantly, this year Member States have elected a new Director-General on 23rd May.

The three final candidates were Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, 52, of Ethiopia, David Nabarro, MD, 67 of Great Britain and Sania Nishtar, MD, 54 of Pakistan.

Dr. Tedros is the first non-physician to lead WHO. Further, he will be the first African to Director-General lead the WHO. But his election has not been without controversy with Ethiopian opposition groups saying that this will raise the diplomatic profile of a country accused of human rights violations.

About Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

  • Born in Asmara, Eritrea on March 3, 1965
  • Held two ministerial portfolios in Ethiopia – Minister of Health (2005 – 2012) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2012 – 2016)
  • Holds a PhD in Community Health from the University of Nottingham (UK), MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK) and BSc in Biology from the University of Asmara (Eritrea)
  • He was a Board Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The #WHA70. 1st round 

Tedros 95 votes

Nabarro 52

Nishtar 38


2nd Round Result

Dr Tedros got 121

The British Nabaro got 62