WHO chief Tedros confirmed for second five-year term
LONDON — WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was confirmed by the U.N. well being company’s member nations for a second five-year term on Tuesday.
“This is overwhelming,” Tedros stated, after one other WHO official requested everybody within the room to face and applaud him. Fighting again tears, Tedros described himself as “a child of war.” He stated that after witnessing his youthful brother’s dying at an early age, it was “luck (that) brought me all the way here.”
Tedros, a former government minister from Ethiopia, has directed the World Health Organization throughout its management of the global response to COVID-19 and withstood occasionally withering criticism over its multiple missteps. He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor.
Under Tedros, the U.N. health agency failed to call out countries including China for blunders that WHO officials grumbled about privately, advised against mask-wearing for months, and said initially that the coronavirus wasn’t likely to mutate rapidly. Scientists drafted by WHO to investigate the coronavirus’ origins in China said the critical probe was “ stalled ” final year, after issuing a report that even Tedros acknowledged had prematurely dominated out the potential of a laboratory leak.
“There have been some mishaps, but Tedros has also been a steady voice throughout the pandemic, advocating for an equitable response,” stated Javier Guzman, director of world well being coverage on the Center for Global Development in Washington.
He stated regardless of reservations about Tedros’ management, some nations weren’t keen to push for change.
“We are in the middle of the pandemic and there is some pressure for consistent leadership to take us through this difficult moment,” Guzman stated.
Tedros has steadily railed in opposition to wealthy nations for hoarding the world’s restricted provide of vaccines and insisted that prescription drugs aren’t doing sufficient to make their medicines obtainable to the poor. Amid the near-universal give attention to Ukraine after the Russian invasion, Tedros slammed the worldwide neighborhood for not doing sufficient to resolve crises elsewhere, together with Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, arguing that it was presumably as a result of these struggling weren’t white.
Still, critics say Tedros has failed on some elementary points, like holding employees accountable after allegations that dozens of outbreak employees managed by WHO sexually abused younger girls in Congo throughout an Ebola outbreak that started in 2018, in one of many greatest intercourse scandals in U.N. historical past. None of the senior WHO managers alerted to the abuse allegations and who did little to cease the exploitation, have been fired.
In January, The Associated Press reported that staffers in WHO’s Western Pacific office filed an inside criticism accusing regional director Dr. Takeshi Kasai of abusive, racist and different misconduct, undermining efforts to stem the unfold of COVID-19. In response, Tedros stated an investigation into the allegations had been launched and promised to behave “with urgency.”
But final week, a number of WHO staffers wrote to the company’s Executive Board complaining that Kasai “has been able to continue his unethical, abusive and racist conduct without any form of restriction.” In an e-mail to employees, Kasai disputed the costs.
Public well being skilled Guzman stated the obvious tradition of impunity at WHO was problematic.
“We do need to see a stronger (WHO) director-general going forward, where misconduct is not tolerated,” he stated, calling for in depth reforms to make the company accountable.
As Tedros begins his second term, some consultants have additionally raised issues that WHO is not fulfilling its major position as a technical company offering science-based steerage to nations.
Dr. David Tomlinson, a heart specialist who has campaigned for higher protecting tools for well being employees in Britain’s well being system, says he has been appalled by WHO recommendation, most notably their reluctance to acknowledge that COVID-19 is broadly unfold within the air. In July 2020, greater than 230 scientists revealed a paper interesting to WHO to acknowledge the coronavirus was airborne; that later prompted the group to alter a few of its suggestions.
Tomlinson and others say Tedros ought to guarantee WHO’s prime precedence throughout future well being emergencies is evaluating the science.
“They have perpetuated untruths that have ultimately led to the deaths of millions of people,” he stated, citing the estimated 15 million individuals who have died throughout the pandemic. “We need an agency that’s unafraid to tell the truth, but that’s unfortunately not what we have.”
Follow AP’s protection of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic