ACTION welcomes new WHO Director General-elect, applauds his statements on health as human right

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 26) – The election of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., as the new director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), and his bold assertion that health is a human right to be upheld through universal health coverage, is being hailed by the ACTION global health advocacy partnership as the kind of leadership the organization and the world need to remove barriers to care and advance human development and global prosperity. A former Ethiopian health and foreign minister, Dr. Ghebreyesus is the first African chosen to head the 69-year-old organization. He was elected by the member states of the WHO at a meeting in Geneva, May 23.

“It is extremely heartening to hear Dr. Gheybreyesus’ position and powerful vision,” said ACTION Secretariat Director Hannah Bowen. “There is really no excuse for millions of people around the world to suffer or die from diseases or conditions we know how to prevent and treat, just because they are unable to afford and access quality healthcare.”

ACTION urges G7 leaders meeting in Taormina, Italy, today to take note of the Director General-elect’s vision and to commit to making the investments needed to provide universal health coverage so that we can end needless deaths from major killer diseases and ensure that health crises do not continue to impoverish tens of millions of families every year. “There are many complicated issues facing world leaders, but investing in health should not be controversial—it should be fundamental,” said Bowen.An ACTION media champion, Muyama will take her message and lived experiences from her childhood in Uganda to G7 leaders. Moved by the suffering she witnessed, she became a nutritionist to make a difference in the lives of those experiencing hunger and malnutrition. ACTION has sponsored both Muyama and Ingrid Oxley, a tuberculosis survivor from South Africa, to the G7.

In addition to universal health coverage, Dr. Ghebreyesus promised “to strengthen the frontlines of health; transform the WHO into a world class force; and place accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement at the heart of WHOs culture.”

ACTION works to ensure equitable access to health around the world, and ending the burden of preventable and treatable diseases of poverty and other barriers to health. This will require increased investments, improved policies and bold ambition, developed and sustained through the leadership of governments around the world in partnership with civil society, global institutions, and the private sector, and sustained by broad political will.

ACTION is a partnership of 12 locally rooted organizations around the world that advocate together to build political will and increase investments for global health. Our partners: Æquitas (India), CITAM (Zambia), Global Health Advocates France, Global Health Advocates India, Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium, Princess of Africa Foundation (South Africa), RESULTS International Australia, RESULTS Canada, RESULTS Japan, RESULTS Educational Fund (US), RESULTS UK, and WACI Health (Kenya).


For more information, or to be connected with our global network of health advocates:

Grace Virtue
Senior Advisor – Communications
+1 (202) 637-9600 ext. 123