President Paul Kagame has come out in strong support for Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the newly appointed Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO).
The former Ethiopian Health Minister (from 2005 to 2012) and later Foreign Affairs Minister of Ethiopia from 2012 to 2016, emerged top yesterday at the World Health Organisation Assembly. He replaces long-serving Chinese medic Dr. Margaret Chan, who has been in the job since 2006.
In a Twitter congratulatory message, President Kagame said; “Thank you to all Africans and non-Africans who saw Dr. Tedros as the right candidate and stood together to support his candidature.”
“Congratulations to Dr. Tedros on your election as DG of WHO. You deserved it and Africa deserves it!!”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus becomes the first ever African to lead the United Nations health agency.
“It is not always the best candidate who is chosen, Dr. Tedros election restores hope that most deserving candidate can win,” said Kagame.
The President wished the new WHO chief the best as he takes over the agency amid various global health threats.
“Dr. Tedros all said and done, you and all of us know most important task lies ahead. I have no doubt in your ability and the will to deliver. All the best,” said Kagame.
In his address to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, shortly before his election, Dr. Tedros promised to respond to future emergencies in a rapid and efficient way.
Number one on his priorities at the helm of WHO, he said is “standing up for the rights of the poor”.
“All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this,” he told the assembly.
During the campaign, Dr. Tedros easily received wide backing from all 50 plus African countries – a sign that the continent had settled on fronting unique candidates for international high profile jobs.
Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo who was the chief campaigner of Dr. Tedros has always described him as one of the best qualified individuals to lead the global agency.
Before the elections were held, Mushikiwabo said “All African countries have united behind him, and Africa is ready to play its part in global health. For us in Rwanda, and for the larger eastern Africa, we feel proud and look forward to May 23.”
After the election, Louise Mushikiwabo took to Twitter: “Congratulations @DrTedros ..Africa is proud of you.”
Dr Tedros has met President Kagame several times during important summit, including the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) where he represented Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian PM in 2015 in Kigali.
In April this year, Dr Tedros met President Kagame in Kigali and said, “Such a beautiful day in Kigali, Rwanda. Great honour meeting my sister FM Mushikiwabo and H.E. President Kagame. Murakoze Cyane Mr. President for your support since the start of our campaign. Proud to represent our Africa . Humbled by its united voice to support the campaign.”
Dr.Tedros was elected with 133 votes over Dr. David Nabarro from Britain who received 50 and Pakistan’s Dr. Sania Nishtar who was eliminated in the first round of voting.