July 6, 2022

Tetros re-elected President of the World Health Organization

GENEVA, May 24 (Reuters) – World Health Organization (WHO) member Tetros Adanom Caprese has been re-elected director general with a strong majority for another five years, the chairman of the World Health Council said on Tuesday.

The secret ballot, announced by Ahmed Roble Abdille from Djibouti at a key annual meeting, was seen as a formality as Tetros was the only candidate.

Ministers and delegates alternately shake hands and embrace Tetros, the former Ethiopian health minister who led the UN during the turbulent period of the COVID-19 epidemic. The president had to use the coup several times to disrupt the applause.

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Addressing the legislature shortly after his re-election, Tetros said the WHO’s focus would be on emergency preparation and the agency’s progress.

“This epidemic is very unprecedented and we are learning many lessons that we need to learn. But at the same time we say we can not pause, we cannot learn, we cannot implement … Instead of pausing to learn, we will implement while learning.”

The newly re-elected WHO leader shed tears as he spoke of the current Ukraine crisis and the death of his younger brother from childhood illness in the midst of war and poverty decades ago.

“When I went to Ukraine, especially when I saw children .. I was reminded of a film that was over 50 years old, very familiar, very haunting. The smell, the sound and the image of war. I did not do that. I did not want anyone to walk.”

Many countries, including Germany and the United States, immediately extended their congratulations.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach tweeted that Tetros received 155 of the 160 votes, saying it was a “wonderful result”. “Congratulations, full qualification.”

Germany recently surpassed the United States as the primary donor to the UN Health Organization.

However, due to friction in the Tigre conflict, Tetros did not receive his own Ethiopian support for his second-term candidacy. The ambassador to the Ethiopian assembly, Botswana, who greeted Tetros, made it clear that the 47 countries on the African delegation were not represented.

“The established working method of the African Council is to work with consensus. I would like to point out that there is no consensus. Therefore, the eminent representative of Botswana cannot issue a statement on behalf of the African Council.”

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Report by Jennifer Rigby, Emma Forge and Mrinalika Roy; Additional report by Paul Carroll; Editing Catherine Evans

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