Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday took office as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), succeeding Dr Margaret Chan, who has held office since 1 January 2007.

The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer and oversees the policy for the Organization’s international health work.

A statement issued by the WHO and copied to the Ghana News Agency said Dr Tedros was elected on 23 May 2017, by vote of WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly.

The statement said it was the first time that Member States at the World Health Assembly selected a Director-General from among multiple candidates. It said previous elections a single nominee was forwarded by the WHO Executive Board to the World Health Assembly for consideration.

The statement said prior to his election as WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served from 2012–2016 as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia. It said in this role, he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The statement said Dr Tedros served as Minister of Health in Ethiopia from 2005–2012 where he led a comprehensive reform effort of the country’s health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure.

“He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health,” it stated.

GNA