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Deadline to Announce Candidacy for WHO Director-General


Deadline to Announce Candidacy for WHO Director-General

Tedros Adhanom
Photo: World Health Organization

Today is the last day for World Health Organization’s (WHO) member states to submit candidates for the Director-General position.

Currently, incumbent Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is set to retake the post without opposition. From the Tigray region of Ethiopia, Tedros became the WHO’s first African Director-General in 2017. Since then, he has overseen responses to several international crises, including Ebola and most notably the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ethiopian government is not expected to endorse him as the president accused Dr. Adhanom of funding rebels in the Tigray conflict. Still, he was endorsed by Germany, a major funder of the organization. If confirmed, his formal appointment is scheduled for May 2022.

The reelection also comes as the WHO has recommended against COVID-19 booster shots though wealthy nations continue to administer them. If Dr. Adhanom runs unopposed and starts his second term as Director-General, expect the WHO to continue pushing back against COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, encouraging member states to instead contribute to the COVAX initiative towards equitable global vaccine distribution. However, it is unlikely that nations will heed the WHO’s calls as more COVID-19 variants like the highly contagious delta continue to spread, including in highly vaccinated countries.

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