We congratulate Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on being elected as the next Director-General of the World Health Organization. His appointment comes at a time when the world needs a fierce and proactive advocate for gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women more than ever.
Dr. Tedros' track record of strengthening health systems and training community-based female health workers to expand reproductive and maternal health in Ethiopia, including family planning services, gives us hope that he will be the unwavering champion for girls and women the global development community wants and needs. Throughout the campaign, he pledged to make the health of women, children, and adolescents a focus of his tenure.
As Dr. Tedros and this community know all too well, actions speak louder than words. Starting with his first 100 days as Director-General, Dr. Tedros must start fulfilling the promises he made on the campaign trail, and then some.
The world’s most powerful health agency needs a leader who advocates for gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights as a net positive for all. He must consistently prioritize girls and women as powerful agents of change and drivers of development. Equally important, he must strengthen the WHO’s gender balance and engagement with young people and civil society not just because it's the right thing to do, but the sound thing to do.
"We at Women Deliver are excited to work closely with Dr. Tedros to prioritize girls and women, not just because they are disproportionately affected by global challenges, but because girls and women are powerful agents of change who lift up everyone around them," said Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver. "Investments in the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women are not optional, but foundational to catalytic reform and progress for all."
Make no mistake: assuming the role of WHO Director-General will not be easy – particularly in the current political environment. But we’re confident that with courage, conviction, and the support of others, Dr. Tedros will make us proud. We wish him the best of luck!