Dr Tedros’ maiden WHO speech

WHOTWO

We attach a link to Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ maiden speech on July 3rd, 2017. Here are some of the goals he outlined for this deeply compromised organisation:

Let me start with the moral centre of our work, with this simple but crucial statement: WHO’s work is about serving people, about serving humanity. It’s about serving people regardless of where they live, be it in developing or developed countries, small islands or big nations, urban or rural settings.”

His leadership has shown a blatant bias toward China, not only praising its leadership but its transparency.

Health emergencies will also be the litmus test for WHO. This topic is also closely related to universal health coverage because our goal is to prevent outbreaks from becoming epidemics at their roots. And this happens at the country level, based on strong health systems which robustly implement the International Health Regulations.

Coronavirus has exposed its complete amateur execution and dereliction of duty. Furthermore, an independent review highlighted that progress at the WHO wasn’t fast enough. It wasn’t prepared for COVID19.

If you read the report of the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee prepared for the World Health Assembly, you will see that they think WHO has made progress in implementing reforms, but they also think that it’s not fast enough. We mustn’t let this happen. I have met with the leaders of the Health Emergencies Programme and I am committed to making sure the world is prepared for the next epidemic.

The culture of results has been self-evident. Any CEO in the corporate world with such a woeful track record would be sacked by their board if they hadn’t resigned already.

Value for money? Surely he jests. No direct confirmation and independent verification of the problem in Wuhan. Pure acceptance of Chinese propaganda at its word and ironically from a nation that ignores UN SDGs with no consequence. Although WHO mentioned a get out of jail free card in a later manual to cope with pandemics that “ethical considerations will be shaped by the local context and cultural values.

Dr Tedros mentioned WHO needed to be run like a performance-driven business.

WHO must deliver value for money. This requires first and foremost that we develop a culture of results. We are very fortunate to have the Sustainable Development Goals.

As to resource mobilization among donors, one could argue that countries like the US are paying according to the WHO chief’s mentality. No confidence. No money.

A key priority for me is to enhance our approach to resource mobilization among donors, old and new. And that has to start by building confidence among partners, that WHO will deliver results and impact. I want WHO to be synonymous with results.”

FNF Media has raised the extreme level of travel costs in a previous post which Dr Tedros admitted was out of line. To his credit, he has knocked that bill from $202 million to $191.7 million since taking the helm.

My second example from my engagement is, among a lot actually, the recent uproar over travel costs. I am reviewing the situation thoroughly and will ensure that our resources are used efficiently. We have to be good stewards of our resources.”

Note that travel is reported in the 2018 audited financials as “The cost of travel includes both WHO staff and non-staff participants in meetings, consultants and representatives of Member States paid by the Organization. Travel expenses include airfare, per diem and other travel-related costs.

That reads like a lot of fully-funded offsites in swank hotels and flying at the pointy end of aircraft.

He closed his speech with,

My friends, we have a historic opportunity to make transformational improvement in world health. Let’s do it. Let us do it for every woman and child who died when they didn’t have to die. And for every child who failed to reach her full potential. For every victim felled by an outbreak, for every small islander who is faced with the threat of climate change.

Do any UN bodies functions without mentioning climate change even though research shows that islanders are far less at threat of rising sea levels?

In conclusion, the most important remedy Dr Tedros made in his speech was:

“Candour is the best medicine for any organization.

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