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WHO chief reelected for second term

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was confirmed by the UN health agency’s member countries for a second five-year term today.

No other candidate challenged Mr Tedros for the post amid the ongoing difficulties of responding to the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Tedros, a former government minister from Ethiopia, has directed the World Health Organisation throughout its management of the global response to Covid-19 and withstood occasionally criticism over its missteps.

He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor.

Under Mr Tedros, the agency failed to call out countries for blunders that WHO officials grumbled about privately, advised against mask-wearing for months, and said initially that the coronavirus wasn't likely to mutate rapidly.

“There have been some mishaps, but Tedros has also been a steady voice throughout the pandemic, advocating for an equitable response,” said Javier Guzman, director of global health policy at the Centre for Global Development in Washington.

“We are in the middle of the pandemic and there is some pressure for consistent leadership to take us through this difficult moment,” Mr Guzman said.

Mr Tedros has frequently railed against rich countries for hoarding the world’s limited supply of vaccines and insisted that pharmaceuticals are not doing enough to make their medicines available to the poor.

Amid the near-universal focus on Ukraine after the Russian invasion, Mr Tedros slammed the global community for not doing enough to solve crises elsewhere, including Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, arguing that it was possibly because those suffering are not white.

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