Tedros Adhanom becomes first African to head WHO

China's Margaret Chan Director General of the World Health Organization WHO arrives prior the opening of the 70th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland Monday

The new head of the World Health Organization doesn't believe the Trump administration's calls to slash funding for worldwide aid and United Nations agencies like his is a "closed issue".

The former health minister and foreign minister received more than half the votes in the first round and then won a decisive second-round election, beating Britain's David Nabarro to the job.

If no candidate is elected outright, which requires at least two-thirds of votes, a simple majority will decide between the two frontrunners.

Chan, a Hong Kong physician who took the reins of the organisation in 2007, acknowledged Monday it had been slow to react to the Ebola disaster.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly in Geneva conducted two rounds of secret balloting to select the next director-general. She promised to bring accountability to World Health Organization and said she was committed to visiting countries "not to cut ribbons but to work with you". "The United States wants and we all need a strong World Health Organization".

Ethiopian supporters hugged and high-fived each other after the announcement.

He replaces Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10-year post at the end of June. All three candidates had vowed to overhaul the agency to restore credibility.

Of the United Nations health agency's 194 member states, 185 were eligible to cast ballots; nine others were either in arrears on their dues or not represented at the gathering. Nine others either were in arrears on their dues or not represented at the gathering. She is the only candidate who promised to serve a single five-year term.

Dr. Tedros' efforts to improve Ethiopia's health sector were crucial to doubling the percentage of Ethiopian women with access to contraception. He's been recognized for his study of malaria in Ethiopia, and in 2011 became the first non-American to receive the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award.

He noted that while the World Health Organization has never had a director-general from Africa, no one should elect him just because he's from Africa.

Tedros joined the Ministry of Health in 1986, after graduating from the University of Asmara.

"Furthermore, when he served his country as minister of foreign affairs, he was a humble and well-mannered guy who promoted Ethiopia's relation to a better place with the rest of the world".

"Given the failure to accurately identify and report cholera to World Health Organization by his home country, Dr. Tedros needs to be very clear that he will call out countries that fail to abide by World Health Organization norms of honest and transparent disease reporting", Gostin said in an email. He has advanced degrees in community health and the immunology of infectious diseases from the United Kingdom, is married and has five children.

Tedros has not been without his controversies however. Human rights organizations say that the Ethiopian government is pressuring health professionals not to refer to the current outbreak as cholera, but as diarrhea.

But the program was carried out by an authoritarian government in Addis Ababa.

Jean-Marie Ehouzou, the African Union's top envoy in Geneva, expressed "happiness, happiness, happiness" at the result.

Ghebreyesus said it was "pure luck" that he was competing in the race to be its next director-general, noting that when he was seven years old, his younger brother was killed by a childhood disease and it could just as easily have been him.

In a speech before voting started, Tedros had said he refused "to accept that people should die because they are poor".

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