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WHO Leadership: Is It Time For A Change?

Leadership at the WHO

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus director general of the World Health Organization
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus director general of the World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, the first African elected to the post, has had an unenviable time in office. First, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the second largest on record) took two years to control, followed by an unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has affected people in every nook and cranny of the world.

Trained in biology and infectious diseases with a doctorate in community health, it is doubtful that anything could have prepared him for the challenges he faced in the past couple of years. Looking back on his tenure, as it draws to a close, Dr. Tedros's track record leaves much to be desired.

To his credit, the WHO chief declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern within a month of the first cluster being reported in China. Dr. Tedros was also instrumental in launching COVAX, an initiative that helped poor and developing countries gain access to the Covid-19 vaccines. He called for a moratorium on booster shots so that at least one dose of vaccine can reach the world's poorest nations. Such attention shown to the developing countries has indeed won him many supporters.

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