Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus becomes 'first African' to lead World Health Organization

New WHO chief Planned US funding cuts not a 'closed issue'

New WHO chief Planned US funding cuts not a 'closed issue'

Health officials, including from Washington, a key WHO donor, said the agency's new leadership needed to get emergency response right.

The voting took place in the assembly hall at the United Nations' headquarters in Geneva.

Of the United Nations health agency's 194 member states, 185 were eligible to cast ballots. There were two abstentions.

In his appeal to delegates before the voter Tuesday, Tedros noted that when he was a 7-year-old growing up in Ethiopia, his younger brother died of a common childhood disease. His fellow countrymen could be seen hugging and high-fiving each other after he made it past the second round, in which Nishtar was eliminated.

The election comes at a critical time for the WHO. He promised reform of the WHO, which was strongly criticised around the world for failing to respond quickly enough to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

Just as such countries need to expand their revenue base, World Health Organization should also widen its income sources, he argued.

Making the agency transparent and accountable.

Tedros will succeed China's Margaret Chan, who was born in Hong Kong and trained in Canada, when she completes her five-year tenure at the end of next month.

The stakes were particularly high in the wake of the scandal that engulfed the World Health Organization during the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

The WHO has already initiated a range of reforms since it faced crushing criticism over its response to the Ebola crisis, but experts say the new chief still faces a huge task.

But Mr Tedros received a boost from Dr Thomas Frieden, an ex-director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. But he said the World Health Organization would look for new donors.

While he acknowledged it was "challenging times for global health", Tedros pledged that "we will innovate and measure our progress by clearly-defined outcomes".

Dr. Tedros, 52, was best-known for having drastically cut deaths from malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and neonatal problems when he was Ethiopia's health minister.

He topped every vote, starting in January when the WHO's executive board whittled a long list of six candidates down to the final three. He was backed by the African Union as well as countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

In his final pitch for why he should lead the WHO, Tedros emphasized his experience as Ethiopia's health minister when he oversaw the expansion of basic health services across the country. He also extended the reach of the health system deep into remote rural areas. He was recently accused of covering up three cholera epidemics in Ethiopia, although there had been no solid evidence of this claim. His accomplishments in improving health and saving lives in Ethiopia have been cited as models for gains that can be made, even in hard, low-resource settings. He has denied any coverup. During a campaign in which many people have been calling for more openness at the WHO, Tedros was criticized for Ethiopia's habit of downplaying domestic cholera outbreaks by labeling them acute watery diarrhea.

In a Twitter congratulatory message, President Kagame said; "Thank you to all Africans and non-Africans who saw Dr. Tedros as the right candidate and stood together to support his candidature". One of the protesters also managed to enter the press gallery of the World Health Organization session on Monday, and shouted slogans against Dr. Tedros before Dr. Chan began her parting speech.

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