Former Ethiopian Health Minister, Tedros Adhanom was elected as the new Director-General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday.
Tedros defeated Britain’s David Nabarro and Sania Nishtar of Pakistan in the race to lead the UN’s public health body.
The result was confirmed in a statement by the WHO after three rounds of voting on Tuesday.
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, congratulated Tedros after the election, tweeting: “Congratulations to my brother @DrTedros, newly elected #WHODG. Feels great to be part of history made #WHO70”
Tedros, a 52-year-old malaria specialist, will take over on July 1, succeeding Margaret Chan, a Hong Kong native whose decade-long tenure was marred by the agency’s fiercely criticised response to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.
In his final pitch to member-states before ballots were cast, Tedros vowed to staff the WHO with “a world-class workforce” while introducing strict accountability measures, which critics say have been sorely lacking at the Geneva-based agency.
He listed delivering universal healthcare, especially to the world’s most impoverished, as his top priority.
Tedros said he refused “to accept that people should die because they are poor.”