Global Health Gets a Checkup

A Conversation With Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

  • Country: Ethiopa
  • Title: Director-General of the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization was established in 1948 as a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with improving global public health, coordinating the international response to epidemics, and the like. In the ensuing decades, its dedicated staff has served on the frontlines of public health battles, from the eradication of smallpox to the fight against AIDs to the challenges of noncommunicable diseases. In May, the WHO’s member countries elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new director general. A malaria researcher, Tedros, as he is known, served as the health minister of Ethiopia from 2005 to 2012 and as foreign minister from 2012 to 2016. He spoke with Foreign Affairs’ deputy managing editor Stuart Reid in New York in July.

What keeps you up at night?

Epidemics or pandemics. Immediately after the First World War, in 1918, the world encountered the Spanish flu. It was airborne and killed more than 50 million people. Ebola is lousy

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