WHO Director-General Consults with NIH On U.S. Tour
NIH has a friend at the helm of the World Health Organization in Geneva, now that Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has taken up his position as director-general. Known as “Dr. Tedros,” he previously served as health and foreign minister of Ethiopia, where he got to know NIH and Fogarty while collaborating on a Medical Education Partnership Award.
In preparation for assuming office on July 1, Ghebreyesus spent 5 days in the U.S., visiting the leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, UN, State Department, HHS, CDC and NIH. While in Bethesda, he met with NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and Fogarty director Dr. Roger Glass, among others.
In his initial address to staff, Ghebreyesus pledged a commitment to global health equity, noting that without health, people have nothing. “This is our collective vision: a world where everyone can achieve healthy and productive lives, no matter who they are or where they live.”
He listed four priorities: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; and health impacts of climate and environmental change. He has also emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to turn WHO into a more effective, transparent and accountable agency, serving as “the best possible” partner for global health.
“WHO’s work is about serving people, about serving humanity,” Ghebreyesus said. “Most importantly, it’s about fighting to ensure the health of people as a basic human right.”