WHO Must ‘Change With The Times’ To ‘Remain Relevant,’ ‘Fulfill Its Mission’

Devex: Opinion: Putting people first at the WHO — from ill health to public health emergencies
Tedros Adhanom, special adviser to the prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

“…If I am asked why I am in [the race for next WHO director general], my answer is simple: Because I care. … As an outsider to the WHO bureaucracy — and a person who comes from the developing world — I will ensure that the human faces behind the issues are front and center at every discussion. … There are … very real and practical obstacles facing the WHO in carrying out its mission. Funding, or the lack thereof, is particularly concerning. It is unacceptable that the budget of an institution vital to ensuring humanity’s health and the world’s progress and prosperity is smaller than some single hospitals in the developed world. So, I’ll be clear about this: One of my first priorities if elected as director general will be to address this issue. I will work to expand funding sources and to enhance the flexibility and predictability of WHO financing. … Secondly, I will work closely with member states to help minimize the penchant to favor parochial, national interests over the regional and global good. … The world is a completely different place now than it was in the post-World War II era when the WHO was established. We are living in an increasingly complex, hyper-connected planet where humanity is facing an existential threat posed by climate change. And if the WHO is to remain relevant and fulfill its mission, it needs to change with the times” (3/20).

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