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International Leadership | Dr. Tedros for Director General of the World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros has also served in prominent leadership roles in a number of major global health organizations and partnerships, leaving an indelible mark on international efforts to tackle the most pressing global health challenges. His leadership of these governing bodies built upon his track record of success in achieving important health reforms and strengthening country ownership and partner coordination at the country-level.

In July 2009, the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) elected Dr. Tedros as its new Chair for a period of two years in recognition of his sound understanding of the Global Fund’s unique business model and his successful experience leveraging Global Fund support to reform Ethiopia’s health system, while adhering to the Global Fund’s rigorous performance-based funding metrics. As Board Chair, his leadership skills were immediately put to the test. At the time of his election, the Global Fund faced an escalating funding shortfall—with estimates as high as US $3 billion—threatening to slow tremendous advancements in 140 countries since 2002. Building on his track record of successful system reforms, Dr. Tedros guided the Board to systematically address these challenges in order to ensure the continued success of the organization. Under his leadership, the Board initiated a comprehensive reform agenda aimed at improving the Global Fund’s financing model with a focus on value-for-money and efficiency, enhancing performance and impact, strengthening national health systems, instituting robust financial management and oversight mechanisms, and promoting the transparency of Global Fund operations and governance. He also succeeded in securing significantly increased financial commitments from the European Commission and other major donors.

Since its founding in 1998 by UN agencies involved in the fight against malaria, the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership has been a powerful coalition-builder in coordinating action against the deadly disease. In 2007, Dr. Tedros was appointed as Chair of the RBM Board in recognition of his accomplishments in advancing malaria research, his understanding of the challenges faced by malaria endemic countries, and his success in tackling malaria in Ethiopia as Minister of Health. In 2008, Dr. Tedros worked with Board members to develop the Global Malaria Action Plan—the first comprehensive blueprint for global malaria control and elimination. Under his leadership, the Board voted to expand its reach beyond African countries to include Asia and Latin America with the goal of eliminating malaria. Throughout his two-year term as RBM Board Chair, he prioritized helping countries develop successful proposals to the Global Fund, and he helped mobilize a record US $3 billion to support malaria programmes around the world.

From 2009 to 2010, Dr. Tedros chaired the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The PCB serves as the governing body for UNAIDS and its efforts to coordinate global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Joining the PCB while still serving as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros played a key role in advocating for greater country ownership as a means to accelerating the fight against HIV/AIDS and intensifying the work of UNAIDS in health systems strengthening and HIV prevention. He also oversaw the implementation of recommendations of the second independent evaluation of UNAIDS, which included the development of a new mission statement to guide its work.

From 2005 to 2009, Dr. Tedros served as Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, an alliance of more than 700 organizations in 75 countries. Reflecting his commitment to women and children’s health, Dr. Tedros oversaw the development of a three-year strategic framework that helped raise the profile of maternal, newborn and child health issues to the global and country levels, mobilize more resources, harmonize and scale-up coverage rates for essential interventions and improve leadership and governance.

Dr. Tedros’ global leadership also includes service on the Boards of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Stop TB Partnership and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

    In 2007, he served as first Vice-President of the Sixtieth World Health Assembly. In 2009, he represented Ethiopia as the Chair of the Fourth Conference of Ministers of Health of the African Union (AU) and also served as a member of the High‐Level Task Force for Innovative Financing for Health Systems, co‐chaired by World Bank President Robert Zoellick and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Tedros served on the Advisory Board for the Ministerial Leadership in Health Program at Harvard University, a joint program between the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the John F. Kennedy School of Government which provides leadership development for 10-12 health and finance ministers from Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America annually. In June 2013, Dr. Tedros chaired AIDS Watch Africa in Abuja, Nigeria.