Home LATEST NEWS Massive support for Tedros for a second term at the head of...

Massive support for Tedros for a second term at the head of the WHO


Words fail me. Very grateful for the renewed support, said, very moved, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) after the vote.

In a secret ballot behind closed doors, the members of the Executive Council of theWorld Health Organization – around thirty countries, including France – have officially validated his candidacy, after giving him a major oral.

The 31 countries that took part in the vote all voted for him, according to a diplomatic source. Three countries were absent: Tonga, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.

He still has to be officially elected in May by all the member states of the organization, an election without a foreseeable hitch since he is the only one to stand.

We appreciate not only your leadership during this time, but also your humanity and compassion. In particular, your unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable people, underlined the South Korean representative, Kim Ganglip, on behalf of the countries of the Western Pacific region.

The French representative, Jérôme Salomon, speaking on behalf of the 53 Member States of the European region ofWorld Health Organization, highlighted the long list of global health challenges facing Dr Tedros, as well as institutional challenges, such as the implementation of plans to avoid and combat sexual assault and harassment, including ensuring an organizational culture that promotes compliance.

Mr. Tedros for his part called for the strengthening of the role of theWorld Health Organization at the heart of the global health architecture and asked that each country recognize health as a fundamental human right.

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Highly appreciated, despite some criticism

In office since 2017, the head of theWorld Health Organization is highly appreciated, especially by Africans, for having allowed the gaze of the international community, especially during the pandemic, to turn more towards this continent.

However, it was from his own country that the main criticism came on Tuesday. The Ethiopian government accused him of having abuse of office after his comments on the humanitarian situation in his home region of Tigray, which has been plagued by 14 months of conflict.

The 56-year-old malaria specialist is a graduate in immunology, a doctor in community health and a former minister of health and head of diplomacy in Ethiopia.

First African to lead theWorld Health Organization, he has been on the front line since the start of the pandemic.

The arrival of Democrat Joe Biden in the White House, which put the United States back in the foldWorld Health Organization, gave him a second wind, while he was constantly attacked by Donald Trump, who had cut off supplies to the organization, which he accused of being too close to China and of mismanaging the pandemic.

Dr. Tedros at a press conference.

Dr Tedros has come under fire from his home country of Ethiopia (files).

Photo: Getty Images / FABRICE COFFRINI

The more critical tone of Dr. Tedros towards China, which he considers not to be transparent enough on the origin of the pandemic, has earned him some reprimands from Beijing, which however supports its renewal.

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A scandal of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo perpetrated by employees of his organization – among other aid workers – earned him a volley of green wood twice from several dozen member countries, who deemed his reaction too soft and too slowly. On Tuesday, he repeated that he had been horrified.

The pandemic has shown that his calls often go unheeded, such as when he calls on the better-off countries to institute moratoriums on vaccine recalls so that the poorest can benefit from them.

After a first term marked by COVID, which laid bare the shortcomings of theWorld Health Organization, Dr. Tedros will have to win the challenge of strengthening the UN agency, in particular to better prevent and manage future epidemics.

The pandemic has highlighted the challenge we face, that the world was not ready, he said on Tuesday.

But the contours of the reform have yet to be defined by the countries, some of which, concerned about their sovereignty, have little desire to give more power to the WHO.

Dr Tedros would like Member States’ share of contributions to be 50% of the budget by 2028-2029, up from 16% now. The rest being voluntary contributions from public and private donors who decide how theWorld Health Organization can use them.

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