3, May 2021
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — who has become the face of the agency’s battle against the pandemic — will run for a second term, Stat News reported Monday.
The 56-year-old former Ethiopian health minister and minister of foreign affairs has not said publicly whether or not he plans to seek another term.
But an unnamed source close to Tedros told the US health news site that the director-general intends to stand for re-election when his term expires next year.
When contacted by AFP, the WHO did not say whether Tedros would indeed run for a second term, only that the nomination period opened last month.
“Member states may nominate candidates between now and September,” the agency said in an email.
“All proposals are sent in sealed envelopes to the Chair of the Executive Board and are strictly confidential until opened in due course,” it added.
Tedros was elected as the head of WHO in 2017, becoming the first African to ever take the helm of the UN health agency.
WHO director-generals may serve a maximum of two five-year terms, and must be elected by WHO member states each time.
Tedros was thrust onto the global stage with a number of high-profile health emergencies — most notably the Covid pandemic, but also several fresh Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in West Africa.
The WHO has found itself at the heart of efforts to coordinate the global pandemic response.
Its handling of the crisis has been widely praised, but has also met harsh criticism from some quarters, and in particular from the administration of former US president Donald Trump.
Trump accused the organisation of being a puppet to China and began withdrawing the United States from the organisation in protest — a decision immediately rescinded by President Joe Biden when he took office in January.