SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization (WHO) member states have re-elected Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as Director-General of the World Health Organization for a second five-year term.

His re-election in 2017 was confirmed by secret ballot during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva. He was the sole contender.

The election was the culmination of a process that began in April 2021, when Member States were invited to submit proposals for candidates for the position of Director-General.

Dr Tedros was nominated for a second term by the WHO Executive Board in January of this year.

His re-election was met with applause from ministers and others at the Geneva Assembly. He received 155 votes out of 160 cast, but he did not receive support from his native Ethiopia due to opposing views on the Tigray conflict.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach tweeted that Tedros got 155 of 160 votes, calling it a spectacular result. “Congratulations, fully deserved.”

Germany recently overtook the United States as the UN health agency’s top donor.

The new mandate of the WHO Director-General will take effect in August. According to World Health Assembly rules and procedures, a Director-General may be reappointed only once.

Tedros said in a tweet after the vote that he was “humbled and honored” by the vote of confidence, and that he was “deeply grateful for the trust and confidence of Member States.”

“I thank all health workers and my WHO colleagues around the world”, he continued saying he was looking forward to “continuing our journey together.”

In remarks after the vote, he said his re-election was a vote of confidence in the whole WHO adding: “This is for the whole team.”

During the pandemic, he acknowledged pressure and attacks from “many quarters,” saying that despite the insults and attacks, he and the organization always kept an open mind and did not take it personally.

 “We must focus on promoting health…number two, we must focus on primary healthcare,” he said, adding that emergency preparedness and response are dependent on the first two priorities.

Tedros oversaw WHO’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, during which he faced criticism, most notably from former US President Donald Trump, who decided to withdraw the US from the WHO – a decision that has since been reversed.

The WHO director-general also oversaw the response to Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and oversaw the agency’s response to the health consequences of a number of other humanitarian crises, most recently the war in Ukraine.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE