As at now, the rest of the world is looking up to the World Health Organization (WHO) for answers and solution to the fast-spreading Coronavirus, that has claimed over 3000 lives and infected over 90,000 people. At the heart of this most revered organization is one Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African and Ethiopian who serves as WHO Director-General, addressing the press every now and then to give updates on the increasing cases of coronavirus spread.
Dr Tedros was appointed Head of WHO two and a half years ago. His tenure has dominated by the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now Coronavirus that is not abating, both of which have been declared public health emergencies.
Born in 1965 in Asmara, now Eritrea’s capital, Tedros grew up in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region. His approachable and friendly manner saw him climb through the ranks in Ethiopia’s government, becoming health minister and then foreign minister, before clinching the topmost seat in WHO.
The 55-year-old has been praised for reforming the health sector and improving access to health care in Ethiopia, Africa’s most populous state after Nigeria. When the news of coronavirus outbreak became public, Tedros quickly paid Beijing a visit to persuade the Chinese government into transparency and international co-operation.
After his trip to Beijing, Dr Tedros said China had set a new standard for outbreak control and a few days later he told world leaders in a conference that China’s actions had “bought the world time”. But when the crisis started getting out of hand, spreading into other parts of the world, critics were quick to call him out for waiting too long to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Dr Tedros will keep on updating and advising countries to prepare, diagnose, trace, and contain reported cases of coronavirus across the world. Even with the heightened tension, pressure and fear across the globe with nations demanding for answers, he has kept it together, carrying out his responsibility to the best of his ability. How WHO handles this crisis and put it to rest will impact on his career and personality at large.