Former health minister and E8 Ambassador Dr Richard Kamwi has thrown his support behind newly-elected World Health Organisation director general. The voting process for the new WHO director-general took place in a closed-door session on Tuesday. Health ministers of 186 countries cast their votes in secret at the UN headquarters in Geneva. After three rounds of voting, Tedros emerged the winner with 133 votes to the 50 votes for British candidate David Nabarro, while there were three abstentions. “As the E8 Ambassador, and on behalf of the E8 Partnership, I would like to congratulate Dr. Tedros, and to convey the unwavering support of the E8, towards his vision of “a world where everyone can lead healthy and productive lives, regardless of who they are and where they live. We believe that attainment of malaria elimination and freedom from the burden of this disease is a key factor in realizing this vision, and stand fully behind the new Director General and the WHO in achieving this goal. “During his tenure as the Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, he introduced transformational new initiatives to enhance impact of the Fund’s investments, and mobilized unprecedented new resources for global health, including malaria. As the Chair of Roll Back Malaria Board, he provided leadership for the development of the Global Malaria Action Plan, which served as the first comprehensive blueprint for malaria control and elimination globally.”
He added: “His leadership of an ambitious and innovative health extension worker programme has become global best practice in strengthening health systems. During his tenure, Dr. Tedros Adhanom oversaw the training and deployment of 38,000 health extension workers, creating a community-based and community-driven system of health service delivery, which has since been replicated in countries across the African continent,” said Kamwi. Kamwi said similar approaches of task shifting community case management to community cadres are also now being championed for their potential to accelerate malaria control and elimination efforts across the E8 sub-region and beyond. “The E8 looks forward to Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s leadership of the WHO, and to continued strong collaboration by WHO towards an aggressive push towards malaria elimination in the frontline four countries of the E8 by 2020, and eventual elimination throughout Africa by 2030,” said the former Namibian health minister.
Meanwhile, government on Wednesday also welcomed the appointment of Dr Tedros, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said in a media statement that the Namibian Government is convinced that Tedros with his vast experience, especially as former minister of health and former minister of foreign affairs of Ethiopia, will be an excellent director-general who will build on the successes of his predecessor, Margaret Chan. The new WHO director-general’s exemplary leadership for better health in his home country Ethiopia is globally recognised. “The Government of Namibia is looking forward to closely cooperating with the new WHO director-general, especially considering the pledge he made during his victory statement, outlining his central priority as geared towards working to achieve universal health coverage to provide value for money and to reform the UN agency,” Ashipala-Musavyi said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017. Prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.