Ethiopia's candidate to head UN health agency, WHO

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General-Elect (centre), with Dr Veronika Skvortsova, President of the 70th World Health Assembly (left), and Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. Photo: WHO/L. Cipriano

Ethiopia's former Foreign Minister has been elected Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for next five years.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan from China, who’s stepping down after two terms.

He was running against David Nabarro from the United Kingdom and Sania Nishtar from Pakistan.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

During his pre-election speech on Tuesday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted the opportunities provided by the Sustainable Development Goal agenda in improving the health and wellbeing of people everywhere. 

The new WHO chief has promised to focus on delivering Universal Health Coverage. 

"At present, only about half of the world's people have access to healthcare without impoverishment. This needs to improve dramatically. The path forward is really clear. The Sustainable Development Goals give WHO an opportunity to dramatically increase access to healthcare." 

Dr Tedros will be the first African to hold the position, media reports say. 

He served as Minister of Health in Ethiopia where he led a comprehensive reform effort of the country’s health system. 

During his tenure, more than 3,500 health centres and 16,000 health posts were created and he initiated financing mechanisms to expand insurance coverage. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’04″

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