New WHO chief’s top goal: uni­ver­sal health care

Cape Breton Post - - News -

GENEVA — The new head of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion says his “cen­tral pri­or­ity” will be work­ing to achieve uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age, while pledg­ing to “pro­vide value for money” and re­form the UN agency.

Te­dros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­sus of Ethiopia thanked WHO’s As­sem­bly af­ter its 185 vot­ing mem­bers elected him Tues­day over Bri­tain’s David Nabarro and Sa­nia Nishtar of Pak­istan.

Te­dros, who goes by his first name, spoke out about di­ver­sity and the im­por­tance of lis­ten­ing. He vowed to fo­cus on the most needy and noted the im­por­tance of ef­fec­tive part­ner­ships with health care providers.

He said “all roads lead to uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age. This will be my cen­tral pri­or­ity.” Only about half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion has ac­cess to health care “with­out im­pov­er­ish­ment.”

While he ac­knowl­edged it was “chal­leng­ing times for global health,” Te­dros pledged that “we will in­no­vate and mea­sure our progress by clearly-de­fined out­comes.”

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