WHO chief, facing criticism, makes case for another term
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is making his case for a second term amid criticism from his home country of Ethiopia.
Tedros, who is all but certainly set to win his second term in May, has been criticized for “misconduct” by Ethiopia over his own criticism of that country’s government.
Ethiopia is in the midst of a civil war involving the Tigray region of the country in which the Tigray Defense Forces are battling the central government.
Tedros has criticized Ethiopia for blocking international access to Tigray, effectively preventing the WHO from sending humanitarian aid to the region for months.
“Five years ago, you, the member states, gave me the honor of my life when you placed your trust in me to lead and transform this vitally important global organization,” Tedros said to the agency’s executive board, according to The Associated Press. “I told you then that my priority was to listen. And that is what I have tried to do.”
“I remain completely committed to serving your member states and your people,” he added.
Ethiopia has said it wrote to the WHO and accused the director-general of “misconduct” for his criticism of the war. Though the government nominated him for his position in 2017, it claims Tedros has “not lived up to the integrity and professional expectations required from his office,” the AP added.
Tedros has led the WHO throughout the coronavirus pandemic, a period in which he has also come under criticism from former President Trump and other Republicans who say the WHO should have done more to press China on the pandemic’s origins.
Tedros recently encouraged countries to work together to bring the pandemic to an end.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture,” Tedros said on Monday.
“We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect,” he added.