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Ethiopian elected Global Fund’s new Board Chair
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
by Hareya Fassil
‘’There is simply no alternative to increased and more harmonized investments in an integrated health system strengthening approach. We must build our health systems as we continue to expand access to both basic health care and life-saving prevention and treatment interventions against the main killers. In Ethiopia, the flexible and performance-based financing models of global health initiatives, such as the Global Fund and the GAVI Alliance have had tremendous impact. We are working hard to make use of these instruments, the support of all our other partners in reaching more of our communities with essential health services and putting in place an effective national health system that can not only save many more lives now, but is also better able to fight for the future.’’
Hon. Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Minister of Health, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Today, the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria announced the election of Ethiopia’s Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new Chair. This two-year appointment, which was made by consensus vote, will be effective on
July 6, 2009 until the adjournment of the first Global Fund Board meeting in 2011.
Minister Tedros succeeds Mr. Rajat Gupta, Senior Partner and former Head of McKinsey and Company, who represented the Global Fund Board’s Private Sector Delegation. Mr. Ernest Loevinsohn of the Canada-Germany-Switzerland constituency was also elected as Vice-Chair of the Board for the same period, succeeding Mrs. Elizabeth Mataka, head of a major Zambian AIDS organization.
The new Chairman brings to the helm of this world-leading global health agency, a background of distinguished expertise, strong leadership, and wide-ranging experience in the fight against the three diseases. These are gilt-edged qualifications for steering the governing body of this prominent avant garde organization. The Global Fund Board, which is arguably one of the most representative governing bodies in the global health arena today, wields considerable international influence.
In the relatively short period since its establishment in 2002, the Global Fund has committed USD 15.6 billion to support AIDS, TB and malaria control programs in 140 countries. As a result, today, over 2 million people are receiving life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) worldwide, 4.6 million people are getting effective treatment against tuberculosis, and 70 million have access to bednets to protect them against malaria. As of the end of 2008, Global Fund-financed programs are estimated to have prevented more than 3.5 million deaths due AIDS, TB and malaria.
The international community’s strong support for Ethiopia was attested by the wide backing Minister Tedros’ candidacy received from the Board’s diverse constituencies in an open and wide election process, which involved the establishment of a special ‘Board Chair and Vice-Chair Nomination Group’ representing all delegations. Following Minister Tedros’ appointment as Board Member, representing the East and Southern African constituency at the Board’s last meeting, detailed procedures were agreed which allowed an extended period for all constituencies to nominate other candidates for the position. Remarkably, however, there were no other nominees. Throughout the process, the new Chair of the Global Fund Board has maintained an inspirational focus on the key principles – his firm belief in the indispensability of country-ownership, and his characteristic predilection for transparency and open dialogue.
Dr. Tedros started his career as a researcher on malaria and has produced award-winning research in this field. As Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia,
he has demonstrated the Ethiopian government’s strong commitment to the prevention and treatment of all three diseases, while also addressing the enormous health system challenges facing the country. In recent years, Ethiopia has also been strongly engaged in a number of other prominent global health forums. The Minister served a successful two-year term as Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) which ended just last May. He has also been representing Ethiopia as Chair of the UNAIDS Programme Coordination Board (PCB) since January 2009. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and member of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Board as well as the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). Ethiopia has also been represented on the High-Level Task Force for Innovative Financing for Health Systems, Co-Chaired by World Bank President Robert Zoellick and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Unlike many other global health organizations, the Global Fund operates as a financing mechanism and not an implementing agency. Global Fund grants are awarded purely on technical merit and adherence to a set of criteria aimed at ensuring broad stakeholder participation throughout the process of program design and implementation. The business of program design and implementation is left entirely to experts and partners at the country level. Global Fund beneficiary countries are required to set up a broadly representative Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) through which diverse stakeholders collectively oversee the development and implementation of program proposals. As Chair of the Ethiopia CCM, Minister Tedros has brought to bear his sound understanding of the Global Fund’s unique business model in creating an effective and well-coordinated system of governance at the national level. The Global Fund applies rigorous procedures in verifying and measuring the results of the programs it supports. Thus, Ethiopia would simply not have been awarded the substantial grants it has so far received from the Global Fund, had it not demonstrated highly satisfactory performance and results.
Ethiopia which signed its first Global Fund grant in March, 2003, has been recognized among ‘high performing’ Global Fund-supported countries. Today, the Global Fund represents the leading source of external funding support to the country. The country has been making effective use of this support in combating all three diseases through an ‘integrated health system strengthening approach’, while at the same time, leveraging the support of all other major bilateral and multilateral partners in complementary ways.
This election is a unique and timely opportunity for significantly strengthening Ethiopia’s engagement and that of all other implementing constituencies in the governance of this leading global health agency from whose support countries throughout Africa and the developing world have greatly benefitted. Given Ethiopia’s strong commitment to the fight against the three pandemics and Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ personal dedication and exceptional leadership, this election is one that brings great pride and even greater hope to all Africans, and indeed, all those at the forefront of the fight against the pandemics throughout the developing world.
You made the right choice. Well Done!
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