By Goth Mohamed Goth
Somaliland is the latest country to join the 54 African Union countries in endorsing Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former health and foreign affairs minister of Ethiopia, for the post of WHO director-general.
In a message posted in his social media page, Mr. Ayaanle Salad Dirye, Somaliland deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia stated as follows; –
“The Republic of Somaliland fully endorses the candidature of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for the post of WHO director-general,
Ambassador Ayaanle Salad Dirye, further added, “In the current context of what the WHO needs the most, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former health and foreign affairs minister of Ethiopia, who is the most qualified for the role. Over the past 30 years, he has led health systems in his home country of Ethiopia and chaired the board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the largest coffers for global health financing.
About Tedros Adhanom Ghebreye
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ge’ez: ቴዎድሮስ አድሓኖም ገብረኢየሱስ) (born 1965) is an Ethiopian politician, academic, public health authority who served in the government of Ethiopia as Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016.
Tedros joined the Ministry of Health in 1986, after graduating from the University of Asmara. An internationally recognized malaria researcher, as Minister of Health, Tedros received praise for a number of innovative and system-wide health reforms that substantially improved access to health services and key outcomes. Amongst them were hiring and training roughly 40,000 female health extension workers, cutting infant mortality from 123 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 88 in 2011, and increasing the hiring of health cadres including medical doctors and midwives. In July 2009, he was elected Board Chair of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a 2-year term.
In November 2012, Tedros was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. In January 2016 the twenty Sixth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union endorsed his candidature for the next election of the Director General of the World Health Organisation as a sole African candidate.
Dr Tedros’ suitability for director-general rests is his irrefutable ability to create and build efficient and sustainable health systems, the linchpin of health care delivery. Under his leadership, Ethiopia has made such dramatic improvements in public health outcomes that it is often heralded as a model for health care delivery in low- and middle-income countries. During his tenure, Ethiopia trained and deployed nearly 40,000 health extension workers — mostly women — to the most remote and hardest-to-reach parts of the country to provide basic health care services. Evidence suggests that his interventions have led to precipitous declines in rates of infant mortality to levels that even countries with far more resources have not been able to achieve.
While Ethiopia had previously grappled with one of the greatest doctor shortages in the world, under Tedros’ leadership, the country opened 13 new medical schools, dramatically increasing the number of graduating doctors in the country. When there were concerns or critiques about how this may lead to decrease in quality of medical education, Tedros created new partnership models to pair the new Ethiopian schools with leading U.S. and European institutions for faculty career development, curriculum enhancements, and capacity building for locally relevant research.