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Today the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new director-general. Ghebreyesus was nominated by the government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on July 1, 2017.
Prior to his election as WHO’s next director-general, Ghebreyesus served as minister of foreign affairs for Ethiopia from 2012 to 2016 and as minister of health for Ethiopia from 2005 to 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 minister of health, Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of the country's health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3,500 health centers and 16,000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38,000 health extension workers; and initiated financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage. As minister of foreign affairs, he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
As chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, 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.
Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr. Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s director-general since Jan. 1, 2007.