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Why securing a second term as WHO chief won’t be easy for Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The 56-year-old has faced criticism from US and China over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Why securing a second term as WHO chief won't be easy for Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made history in 2017 when he became the first African to helm the World Health Organization.


The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — who has change into the face of the company’s battle in opposition to the coronavirus pandemic — has a motive to smile.

On Wednesday, he obtained the backing of Germany in his try to move the world company for a second time period. “We invite companion international locations to affix us nominating DG (Director Common) Tedros,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn was quoted as saying.

Nevertheless, the trail to securing a second time period will not be as easy for the 56-year-old former Ethiopian health minister and minister of international affairs.

Who’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus?

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 throughout which he led a complete reform of the nation’s health system, constructed on the foundation of common health protection and provision of services to all individuals, even in essentially the most remote areas.

He also served as the country’s foreing minister from 2012 to 2016, elevating health as a political situation nationally, regionally and globally. On this position, he led efforts to barter the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, by which 193 international locations dedicated to the financing obligatory to realize the Sustainable Improvement Targets.

In May 2017, he was elected WHO Director-General for a five-year term becoming the first African to ever take the helm of the UN health company.

COVID-19 and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros’ time period as director-general has been engulfed in main health emergencies.

A year after he took office, Ebola exploded in what is effectively a war zone within the northeastern nook of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the outbreak, the second largest on record, took two years to contain.

Before it could be absolutely extinguished, the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, he has led near-daily briefings, outlining guidance and best practices and issuing calls for greater cooperation and solidarity.

He’s been a mainstay face of the COVID-19 pandemic response over the past year.

He has called on wealthier countries to do more to respond to vaccine inequities around the world. COVAX, the WHO-led initiative to distribute vaccines, is experiencing massive shortages and delays.

As Thomas Bollyky, director of global health on the Council on Overseas Relations, mentioned in a report in The World: “Ghebreyesus’ legacy and future come all the way down to his dealing with of the pandemic.”

As director-general, Ghebreyesus has tried to information the world by the most important health disaster of the century. He has been made to handle an enormous international health operation, which incorporates illness management, logistics and steering, budgeting and steering the world by uneven political waters.

Criticism of WHO chief

Nevertheless, if one would imagine that his second time period is a positive shot, suppose once more. His place as WHO chief is susceptible and he has been criticised for his dealing with owing to which some imagine that Tedros wouldn’t be getting one other 5 years in workplace.

His dealing with of the pandemic has managed to anger each China and the US at completely different instances.

In 2020, then President Donald Trump pulled US out of the World Health Organization and mentioned funding could be redirected elsewhere.

The US president had accused the physique of mismanaging the coronavirus pandemic when it emerged in China, and of failing to make “greatly needed reforms”.

In his criticism, Trump had said that WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a well timed and transparent fashion”. Reports said that Trump attacked the WHO saying it had “consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier”.

Trump also accused the organisation of being a puppet to China.

However, present US president Joe Biden immediately rescinded the notice when he took office and ties between the US and Tedros-led WHO are on the mend.

Tedros angered China by insisting on a thorough investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although China is not a major player in the functioning of the WHO, riling the government could prompt it to campaign against him.

China was also angry with the WHO over claims that Beijing had restricted entry to key knowledge on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2021.

Tedros additionally, unexpectedly, has been shunned by his native Ethiopia on account of friction over the Tigray battle.

In Might 2021, the WHO chief had known as the battle in Tigray “horrific” and had mentioned the destruction of health providers was including additional pressure to the disaster.

He later needed to deny accusations made by Ethiopia’s military chief that he was taking sides. “There have been stories suggesting I’m taking sides on this scenario. This isn’t true,” he wrote on Twitter “I wish to say that I’m on just one aspect and that’s the aspect of peace,” he added.

In line with Reuters, a senior African diplomat based mostly in Geneva mentioned he didn’t count on any nation within the African group to appoint Tedros as he didn’t take pleasure in Ethiopia’s backing.

Electing a WHO chief

Despite these controversy, some observers imagine Tedros ought to be capable to safe a second time period.

“He’s not invulnerable by any means, however I feel he’s in a fairly robust place, even with the problems he’s encountered within the first three-and-a-half-years,” said Stephen Morrison, director of the global health policy center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The race for the person who will lead the WHO from 2022 to 2027 began in April when the world body sent out a letter informing member states that they could nominate candidates for the next time period. The nomination interval ends on 23 September; candidates will likely be introduced on the finish of October. If there are multiple candidates, the WHO’s executive board — a panel of members from 34 member international locations representing the various WHO regions — will interview and nominate as much as three final candidates.

Member states will elect the director-general from that roster at the 2022 World Health Meeting in Might, the annual assembly of the WHO’s governing council.

It’s left to be seen if Tedros is ready to safe a second time period, however as Lawrence Gostin, school director of the O’Neill Institute for Nationwide and World Health Law at Georgetown Legislation mentioned “It might be exceedingly unwise in my view to change DG in the midst of a historic pandemic, which will still likely be raging. I also think Tedros has earned another
term.”

Credits: FirstPost.

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