First official visit of the new WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom to Ethiopia

After taking office on 1 July 2017, the new Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom, conducted his first official visit to Ethiopia, on the occasion of the 29th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government. On 2 July 2017, Dr Tedros Adhanom paid a courtesy visit to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission(AUC), H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat.

On the occasion, Dr Tedros extended his heartfelt gratitude to the Chairperson for his unyielding support and that of the African Union. The Director-General expressed his personal commitment to bring the WHO and the AUC even closer in order to achieve maximum synergies and complementarity between Africa political leadership and WHO world’s technical leadership in health.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, on his part, expressed his satisfaction over Dr Tedros’s election as the first African Director-General of the WHO. He also noted that Dr Tedros’ victory is a clear testimony of what Africa can do when united. He also expressed his conviction that this exceptional achievement shall definitely inspire other continental initiatives. Finally, the Chairperson expressed his commitment to work closely with WHO and his readiness to discuss concrete proposals with the World Health Organization with the aim of advancing continental health agenda forward.

During his visit, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom participated in a high-level working dinner organized by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) under the theme: “Partnering with Africa’s Private Sector to invest in Malaria Elimination meeting”. The meeting was chaired by His Majesty King Mswati III, of the Kingdom of Swaziland. This meeting brought together African and global health leaders including the Africa Development Bank, African Union Commission, Global Fund, and Roll Back Malaria among others. Speaking at the occasion, Dr Tedros commended the commitment and dedication of the ALMA in the fight against malaria that preys Africa’s development. “With your support and commitment, we will continue to accelerate towards the elimination of malaria and also achieve universal health coverage in the whole continent,” said Dr Tedros. He also added universal health coverage can only be achieved by partnering with all sectors including private sectors and working together so as to achieve common objectives.

On the occasion, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland presented Dr Tedros Adhanom with a token of appreciation for his contribution towards the elimination of malaria. During his visit, Dr Tedros made a brief statement at the thirty-first Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Executive Council to express his gratitude to the African Union and to Africa for their unwavering support. Dr Tedros affirmed his commitment to serve humanity in his position of WHO DG.