WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus consults with NIH during US tour

July / August 2017 | Volume 16, Issue 4

Francis Collins, Teros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Roger Glass give a thumbs-up to the camera
Photo courtesy of the NIH

NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins (left) and Fogarty Director
Dr. Roger I. Glass (right) met with incoming WHO
Director-General Dr. Tedros during his recent visit to the U.S.

Fogarty has a friend at the helm of the WHO in Geneva, now that Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has taken up his position as Director-General. Known as "Dr. Tedros," he previously served as health and foreign minister of Ethiopia, where he got to know Fogarty while collaborating on a Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) award.

Prior to assuming office on July 1, Tedros spent five days in the U.S., visiting the leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, UN, State Department, HHS, CDC and the NIH. While in Bethesda, he met with NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins and Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass, among others.

In his initial address to WHO staff, Tedros pledged to promote global health equity, saying without health, people have nothing. "This is our collective vision: a world where everyone can achieve healthy and productive lives, no matter who they are or where they live."

Tedros listed four priorities: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women's, children's and adolescents' health; and health impacts of climate and environmental change. He also emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to turn WHO into a more effective, transparent and accountable agency, serving as "the best possible" partner for global health.

"WHO's work is about serving people, about serving humanity," he said. "Most importantly, it's about fighting to ensure the health of people as a basic human right."

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