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

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus newly elected director general of the World Health Organization, answers questions of the journalists at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland Wednesday

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus newly elected director general of the World Health Organization, answers questions of the journalists at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland Wednesday

The WHO said Tedros had led a "comprehensive reform effort" of Ethiopia's health system, creating health centres and jobs.

Health ministers from 186 states have a choice of three nominees to replace Chan as director-general - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, David Nabarro of Britain and Sania Nishtar of Pakistan.

A 133-50 vote secured Dr. Tedros' appointment.

Praised for his leadership as successful global leader, reformer, skilled diplomat and proactive thinker by many prominent political figures and celebrities, Dr. Tedros has been endorsed by the African Union as the most qualified candidate which marks the first time a new World Health Organization leader from the continent.

The new DG will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO's Director-General since 1 January 2007.

Ethiopia Foreign Ministry spokesman termed Ghebreyesus' election to the top post as a "victory for Africa and Ethiopia". She promised to bring accountability to World Health Organization and said she was committed to visiting countries "not to cut ribbons but to work with you".

Also in a statement today, PATH president and chief executive officer Steve Davis added the group's congratulations and said Tedros takes the helm at WHO as it faces a number of significant and complex challenges to global health and security, including ensuring that the WHO and member states act on learning from recent Ebola outbreaks.

She had reason to be on the defensive: During her tenure, WHO faced crushing criticism for its handling of several health emergencies, but none more than the West Africa Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people between late 2013 and early previous year. During his campaign, he highlighted his experience as Ethiopia's health minister, where he supervised the expansion of the country's basic health services.

Tedros served as Ethiopia's Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, then as its foreign minister for four years. Tedros, who campaigned as "Dr. Tedros", is not a medical doctor; he has a Ph.D.in community health.

The candidates are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a 52-year-old former government minister in Ethiopia; Sania Nishtar, a 54-year-old cardiologist and former government minister from Pakistan; and David Nabarro, 67, a physician and longtime United Nations official from Britain.

Currently, WHO has offices in more than 150 countries and works closely with governments and other partners to offer high-quality health care.

He's the first African to ever hold the position in almost seven decades of the existence of WHO, one of the most powerful United Nations agencies, employing some 8000 people across the world.

Tuesday marked the first time that the WHO's 194-member states got to choose the agency's leader.

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