May 24, 2017, by Liz Cass

Former Nottingham student to lead World Health Organisation

 Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

A University of Nottingham alumnus has been named as head of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will be the next director general of the UN agency after winning the most votes from 186 member states.

Dr Tedros, 52 and from Ethiopia, will be the first African in the post. He replaces Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10-year post at the end of June.

Addressing the World Health Assembly shortly before the vote, Dr Tedros promised to respond to future emergencies “rapidly and effectively”.

He also promised to stand up for the rights of the poor.

He said: “All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this.”

Dr Tedros who has also held roles as Ethiopian minister of health and foreign affairs and chairman of the board of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria, graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2000 with a PhD in community health.

Doug Thomson, Director of Campaign and Alumni Relations (CARO) at the University of Nottingham said: “The scope and scale of Nottingham alumni talent is truly vast – from Nobel prize winners, politicians and actresses, to Olympic gold medallists.

“Our global community of alumni continues to grow and make significant contributions in their chosen fields all over the world. It is inspirational for students and staff to think that Nottingham could have laid some of the foundations of such success.

“On behalf of the University of Nottingham I would like to congratulate Dr Tedros on his appointment and we look forward to following his career with interest.”

Dr Tedros has said his top five priorities in the new role are:
• Building WHO into a more effective, transparent and accountable agency that is independent, science and innovation-based, results-focused and responsive.
• Advancing universal health coverage and ensuring all people can access the health services they need without risk of impoverishment.
• Strengthening the capacity of national authorities and local communities to detect, prevent and manage health emergencies, including antimicrobial resistance.
• Putting the well-being of women, children and adolescents at the centre of global health and development.
• Supporting national health authorities to better understand and address the effects of climate and environmental change on health

Posted in Alumni