WHO Has the Right Person for the Job
WHO Impacts My Life
I developed a tiny cough over the weekend (although I have not wandered beyond the confines of my apartment elevator and laundry room). To be perfectly honest, there are occasions when I have had my windows open, and rather than have a butterfly land on my windowsill, or have a leaf blown onto my desk, somehow a droplet of something with an evil soul found its way to me and, starting on Sunday, I could be heard offering small, intermittent coughs.
My mind immediately went to the worst scenario: It was COVID-19, and I would shortly lose my ability to breathe, my lungs would look like shards of glass on the x-ray, a ventilator (although ill-advised) would be shoved down my tranquilized throat, and I would die… or, even if I lived (and the odds were 80/20 against this happening), I would have scarred lungs, a dysfunctional brain, or other horrendous medical reminders that this has happened to me – because of the person who currently goes to sleep at the end of the day in the White House.
Without question I am totally obsessed with my health – from COVID-19 toes to anxiety attacks. I also worry about my teeth. With my dentist and dental hygienist “out of the office,” a tooth ache triggers a crisis. I am told that I can call my insurance company and get a referral, but this does not provide me with a great deal of comfort. I want to see my dentist – just like the good old days. I also worry about getting a rash, or having a heart attack, or getting food poisoning. What happens if I wake up in the morning with the measles and mumps, blurry vision, or a brain tumor? Yes, I have been spending too much time in quarantine – obsessing with my health (thank you, Donald).
I would like to place the entire change in my lifestyle on the shoulders of “The Donald;” however, there are co-conspirators that share this responsibility. Of course, there is Xi Jinping, the fellow who controls China, and because of his own agenda, limited the timing and amount of information shared with the WHO (World Health Organization) and the rest of the world about the raging virus that was pillaging his nation.
WHO… Yes, Who is He
Today, however, my focus is on the man in charge of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Because of (or perhaps in spite of) his background – he should have been smart enough to know that he was being hoodwinked and either called the Chinese on the very serious game they were perpetrating by withholding information, or found other avenues to gain the data that was available (even though it may have taken a bit more effort than just a formal meeting with Chinese officials).
In response to the clear and present danger of the new disease occurring in China, Dr. Tedros commented on January 23, 2020: “Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”
A member of the Contagion newsletter spoke with Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, the vice chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Global Health Committee, in regard to her take on the WHO decision to postpone declaring the outbreak as a pandemic. In the opinion of Dr. Kuppalli, “I am surprised that the WHO did not declare a PHEIC after the Emergency Committee convened today as it appears the criteria of the IHR have been met.”
Some people speculate that Dr. Tedros and WHO were slow to react to the information received (and observed) in China because of either his, a. political skill-set and WHO constraints and/or b. his personal relationships with Chinese leaders. The outcome is what is relevant, the ball was hit and he let it crash into the window(s) of his neighbors.
I have taken the time to drill down to find out about the fellow who is the Director General of the World Health Organization (commonly noted at WHO). Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the first WHO director without a medical degree; however, he does bring with him an unusual political background (as compared to his predecessors). Perhaps it is his political aptitude that enables this fellow to attain and maintain control of his powerful position.
I assume he sought the position of General Director of WHO for the influence it brings; it is not the salary (although the perks are quite good); the Director General earns $240,000 per year (2018). Given his education, professional associations and connections, he could be earning a great deal more money in the private sector.
In the Beginning
Dr. Tedros was born (1965) in Asmara (known, at the time, as Ethiopia) and is now the capital of Eritrea. During his childhood he witnessed the death of his younger brother from an illness that resembled measles and research suggests this experience motivated his entire career path.
Dr. Tedros studied biology at the University of Asmara, receiving his BS in 1986. A few years later he was awarded a MS degree in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from the University of London (on a WHO scholarship) and in 2000 he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in community health from the University of Nottingham where he conducted research on the effects of dams on the transmission of malaria in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
While Dr. Tedros was busy with his studies and his research he assumed the position as the Head of Health (2005 – 2012) and Foreign Minister (2012 – 2016) for Ethiopia and became a senior member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (1991-2018). Some researchers and reporters have identified the group as less than democratic, in fact, it is closer to organizations linked to corruption. Thomas Mountain characterized the TPLF as “…one of the most corrupt, brutal and genocidal regimes to set foot on this planet in the last 30 years” (2020, April 17. The Gangster Head of the WHO). The May 8, 2020 edition of the Ethiopian newspaper places Dr. Tedros in the sixth position in its May 12, 2020 list of members of the Central Committee members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front. Frank Parlato determined that he was personally responsible for brutal repression of the Amhara people, using aid money selectively to starve them and deny them access to basic services.
Larry Gostin, Director of WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights, has found that Dr. Tedros is not new to epidemics. During the time he was the Health Minister in Ethiopia he was accused of covering up cholera outbreaks in the region (2006, 2009, 2011), impacting on thousands in nearby countries. When it reached Ethiopia, the government renamed the disease, calling it Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD). International organizations were pressured not to call it what it was (Cholera), even though the UN tested the infection and determined it to be Cholera. To add insult to injury, government employees were “encouraged” not to reveal the number of people infected.
Although Joel Simon (2020, March 25, Columbia Journalism Review) finds that Dr. Tedros has “regularly emphasized that accurate, timely information is essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic”, he did find that WHO is “spawning a global press-freedom crackdown” as it relates to COVID-19. Geoffrey York has determined that Dr. Tedros, “is comfortable with the secrecy of autocratic states – a tendency that may have led him to accept China’s earliest reports on the novel coronavirus outbreak in December and January without challenging its officials with tough questions (2020, April 24, The Globe and Mail).
Moving on Up
Dr. Tedros officially announced his interest in WHO leadership on May 24, 2016 and became the one and only African candidate. He was endorsed by the African Union and Ministers of Health of the continent. He was also supported by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda and Kenya, and the Minister of Health from Algeria. The Tedros campaign focused on “Together for a Healthier World.” Helping him toward victory were Mercury Public Affairs, a US based lobbying company; Senait Fisseha, an attorney and faculty member from the University of Michigan, and Director of International Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation; as well as the Ethiopian ambassador to the UN. He was the supported by a block of African and Asian countries, including China, the US, the UK and Canada as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
To demonstrate his concern for world health, one of his first acts he completed upon becoming the DG of WHO was to appoint Robert Mugabe (Prime Minister of Zimbabwe until his death), as Goodwill Ambassador to the WHO, a man who ordered the killing of 20,000 people in Zimbabwe during the 1980s. In support of his nomination, Dr. Tedros said of Mugabe… he worked to make the country “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the center of its policies.” A less than stellar response from governments and human rights groups to this nominee encouraged Dr. Tedros to withdraw the recommendation.
Right Man for the Job
In light of the background of Dr. Tedros, and his links to public and private interests, and his propensity for censorship of information related to public health, perhaps, he is, in fact, the perfect person for the job.
YouTube and WHO
YouTube is now censoring any/all information about COVID-19 that is not published by WHO. Although the world is exhausted by the randomness of information that requests (demands?) we comply with wearing masks and social distancing and the mixed messages that change based on the moods of world leadership and hospital administrators, no leader (or organization) has emerged with a clue on what he/she is doing; however, they are all anxious to crackdown on our civil liberties.
When doctors and lawyers and journalists have an opinion and/or ask questions of the leaders (including WHO and other public/private leaders and organizations) queries are ignored and/or the conversations are removed from such communication channels as YouTube and Facebook. This censorship and dismissal of valid queries and opinions encourages millions of people to distrust – just about everyone. Questions I presented to WHO have been ignored (to date).
Censorship, withholding information, perpetrating lies…all are contrary to the First Amendment and core American principles of individual rights. Americans are told to stay at home, get off the streets, although you can shop at Walmart, buy drugs, and, if you live in Wisconsin, can go out to vote.
Why should anyone believe any leader or agency as almost all are using data obtained from faulty computer models, and inaccurate hospital records. When world leaders recommend ingesting household cleaners to destroy COVID-19 and this misinformation receives millions of minutes/hours of air time and valid discourse is ignored, deleted and/or destroyed, it appears to provide evidence that the world has “tilted” and the concept of freedom and ethics is disappearing in the dust created by lies and deceit.
What to Do? VOTE
There is only one avenue that remains open (although Jared Kushner and others hanging out in the White House would like to close this window) – is to VOTE. The current Democratic nominee for President may not check-off all of the boxes we might want in the next POTUS; however, there is only one candidate currently available (unless the Governor of New York steps forward). In the real world, we have to work with the hand that has been dealt. Whether you vote in person or vote by mail, the process is one of the only remaining avenues for us to affect change in the near future.
© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.