WHO Member States today re-elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve a second five-year term as Director-General of the world’s leading public health agency. Dr Tedros was first elected in 2017.
His re-election was confirmed during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva. He was the sole candidate.
“I am humbled by the opportunity provided by Member States to serve a second term as WHO Director-General,” said Dr Tedros. “This honour, though, comes with great responsibility and I am committed to working with all countries, my colleagues around the world, and our valued partners, to ensure WHO delivers on its mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”
Today’s vote was the culmination of an election process that began in April 2021 when Member States were invited to submit proposals for candidates for the post of Director-General. The WHO Executive Board, meeting in January 2022, nominated Dr Tedros to stand for a second term.
Dr Tedros’s new mandate officially commences on 16 August 2022. A Director-General can be re-appointed once, in accordance with World Health Assembly rules and procedures.
During his first term, Dr Tedros instituted a wide-ranging Transformation of the WHO, aimed at increasing the Organization’s efficiency driving impact at country level to promote healthier lives, protect more people in emergencies and increase equitable access to health. He also guided WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the health impacts of multiple other humanitarian crises.
Before first being appointed WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He had 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.
The Second Global COVID-19 Summit showed that the world could come together around a global public good – ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and establishing a solidarity-based system to prevent, prepare for and respond to future health emergencies.
The display of unity by the Summit co-hosts – Belize, Germany, Indonesia, Senegal, and the United States, representing CARICOM, the G7, the G20 and the African Union – and the concrete commitments made by governments, the private sector and civil society, is further evidence of a reignited common purpose.
As Co-Chairs of the council of the ACT-Accelerator, a multi-partner group aimed at developing and facilitating equitable access to COVID-19 tools, we welcome this strong evidence of our shared determination to bring the pandemic to an end and prepare better to prevent and respond to the next health emergency.
The number of COVID-19 cases is now increasing globally, indicating that the pandemic is far from over, particularly for high-risk groups in lower-income countries. The reduction in testing rates makes it harder to track the trajectory of the virus, making it more likely that new variants will go undetected.
At the Summit, global leaders pushed back against complacency and committed to investing in the rollout out of vaccines, strengthening health systems, and facilitating access to treatments and tests.
New commitments of around US$ 1 billion were made to ACT-A’s constituent agencies, including a generous fair share pledge from Canada, and contributions from Italy, Belgium, France, the European Commission, New Zealand, the UAE, Denmark and Colombia.
These are in addition to pledges made at the recent AMC Summit, Germany’s commitment to meet its fair share in March and Norway’s early contribution to kick off the second budget cycle. All these contributions will prove crucial in driving the partnership’s work to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 tools.
Building momentum for expanding access to oral antivirals, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) announced at the Summit a lower price for the treatment nirmatrelvir/ ritonavir – known under the brand name Paxlovid – with CHAI committing to work with ACT-Accelerator agencies to accelerate delivery.
The G7 Summit at the end of June provides the final major opportunity to meet the remaining financing needs of the ACT-Accelerator. The projected funding gap is now US$ 12.1 billion – with US$ 7.5 billion especially urgent. A failure to fund the partnership’s remaining needs will see vulnerable people go unvaccinated, untested, untreated, and unprotected.
Fully funding the ACT-Accelerator will support its life-saving work to expand access to life-saving tools, from new oral antivirals to booster vaccine doses, to ensure the most at-risk are protected wherever they live in the world. No-one is safe until everyone is safe.