Ambitious Tasks Await WHO’s New Director-General
As of July 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) will be curated by the new director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a malaria expert and Ethiopia’s former health minister. He’s the first African to lead the United Nations agency in its 69-year history.
“We know the next health emergency is a matter of not if, but when, and when it happens the world will turn to the WHO for guidance and for leadership. We need to be sure it’s up to the task,” said Tom Price, the United States secretary of health and human services.
An extensive list of tasks awaits Ghebreyesus with improving transparency and effectiveness of the organisation as priorities. Developing a funding strategy, with a focus on the most vulnerable, is one of the main concerns. The WHO suffered from insufficient budgeting in the recent years and Tedros has drawn attention to this fact to reiterate the importance of his new position and highlight the tasks he plans to take on within his first year.
“When we talk about budget issue, most of the time we raise the WHO budget only. But that’s not the right way of thinking about financing [the] Global Health Agenda,” Ghebreyesus stated.
Tedros will be the first non-physician to lead the WHO. In his interview with UNAIDS, he stated that her will sustain the progress made on combating AIDS and renew the commitment to end AIDS as a public health problem by 2030. The WHO will work alongside UNAIDS, the United Nations system, Member States, civil society and community groups to implement the changes needed to end AIDS.
Due to the evolving global conflicts, the new director-general will have to tread lightly in order to maintain neutrality and make public health decisions based upon science-based arguments. Recognised for innovative reforms in health system in Ethiopia, Ghebreyesus is believed to improve WHO effectiveness in providing technical guidance and improving support to countries.
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