June 2017; Volume 36, Issue 6
Issue Focus: Pursuing Health Equity
New Leader, New Era: Five Building Blocks For A Reinvigorated World Health Organization
19 June 2017
By Lawrence O. Gostin
The World Health Assembly’s election of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve as its 9th Director-General may be the most momentous in the Organization’s 70 years for reasons far beyond electing the first African. The World Health Organization (WHO) faces a crisis in confidence following its anemic response to Ebola. It remains caught in an unvirtuous cycle: Member State loss of trust results in a paucity of funding and the continual inability to perform. This is a moment to take stock of the new Director-General’s record and vision, as well as the reforms needed to transform WHO into the 21st century institution the world sorely needs…
…Guided by an unyielding insistence upon and institutionalization of human rights, demanding and developing mechanisms for WHO Secretariat and Member State accountability, and unwavering commitment to the public’s health over politics, Dr. Tedros could return WHO to global health leadership. Too much is at stake for him to do otherwise, while states and stakeholders must do everything possible to make his tenure a historic success.