WHO Director General Candidate Accused of Covering Up Epidemics

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused of covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia
EXPOSED. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been accused of covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia by an associate of a rival for World Health Organization director general. (Photo Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

BY DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. | THE NEW YORK TIMES

A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister — a charge that could seriously undermine his campaign to run the agency.

The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by a prominent global health expert who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for W.H.O. director general.

Dr. Tedros, who uses his first name in his campaign, denied the cover-up accusation and said he was “not surprised at all but quite disappointed” that Dr. Nabarro’s camp — which he said included high-ranking British health officials — had switched to running what he called a “last-minute smear campaign.”



The vote for the next director general of the W.H.O. is to take place at a weeklong meeting of the world’s health ministers in Geneva beginning May 22.

Dr. Nabarro, reached by telephone on Saturday in China, said he knew of the accusations — especially because world health officials believe Ethiopia is suffering a cholera outbreak even now, while still denying it — but he insisted that he had not authorized their release.

“I absolutely did not know,” he said.

His adviser, Lawrence O. Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, called attention to Ethiopia’s long history of denying cholera outbreaks even as aid agencies scramble to contain them. Some of those outbreaks occurred on Dr. Tedros’s watch.

Mr. Gostin said he acted without consulting Dr. Nabarro, and did so because he believed the W.H.O. “might lose its legitimacy” if it is run by a representative of a country that itself covers up epidemics.

“Dr. Tedros is a compassionate and highly competent public health official,” he said. “But he had a duty to speak truth to power and to honestly identify and report verified cholera outbreaks over an extended period.”

In an interview, Dr. Tedros, who was Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 – 2012 and remains highly regarded for his accomplishments then, denied covering up cholera.

Outbreaks occurring in 2006, 2009 and 2011, he said, were only “acute watery diarrhea” in remote areas where laboratory testing “is difficult.” That is what the Ethiopian government said then and is saying now about an outbreak that began in January.

>> ALSO READ : The case against WHO director-general candidate Tedros Adhanom

W.H.O. officials have complained privately that Ethiopian officials are not telling the truth about these outbreaks. Testing for Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which cause cholera, is simple and takes less than two days.
During earlier outbreaks, various news organizations, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that unnamed Ethiopian officials were pressuring aid agencies to avoid using the word “cholera” and not to report the number of people affected.

But cholera bacteria were found in stool samples smuggled out of the country. As soon as severe diarrhea began appearing in neighboring countries, the cause was identified as cholera.

United Nations officials said more aid could have been delivered to Ethiopia had the truth been told.

Somalia, which borders Ethiopia, is currently battling a large cholera outbreak, and a new vaccine is being deployed there. Aid officials believe cholera is also circulating in the neighboring regions of Ethiopia, but without confirmation, they cannot release the vaccine.

Ethiopia’s health ministry is still calling it “acute watery diarrhea,” and told VOA News last month that it would not change that report without laboratory confirmation, which it said it did not have.

Under the International Health Regulations, which apply to all W.H.O. members, countries must accurately report disease outbreaks. But the W.H.O. can officially report only what countries say.

Historically, some countries have tried to cover up or play down outbreaks of human or animal diseases for fear that travel restrictions would be imposed, tourism would suffer or food exports would be curtailed — or simply as a matter of national pride.



The regulations were strengthened after China denied for months in 2003 that it had a serious outbreak of lethal respiratory disease in its southern cities. That outbreak ultimately became known as SARS, for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and spread to several other countries, including Canada.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the current W.H.O. director general, is from China, but was never accused of participating in China’s cover-up. She was the director of health in Hong Kong at the time and led effective responses to both avian flu and SARS.

China has since changed its policy and now is often praised for acknowledging outbreaks promptly, fighting them aggressively and cooperating with other health agencies.

There are many causes of acute watery diarrhea, and the treatment is basically the same as for cholera: prompt intravenous and oral rehydration, accompanied by an antibiotic if the cause is bacterial. But cholera is especially virulent and kills some victims in less than 24 hours. Since it emerged from the Ganges River Delta in 1817, it has killed tens of millions around the world.

Outbreaks of cholera tend to wax and wane and are affected by many factors, including flooding, population displacement, the immunity of victims and a phage virus that attacks Vibrio bacteria.

Dr. Tedros, who has the backing of the African Union and has been praised by international aid officials and former President George W. Bush, is widely respected for his stint as Ethiopia’s health minister.

He trained 40,000 female health workers, improved laboratories, created ambulance fleets and multiplied medical school graduates tenfold. Deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as deaths of young children and women in childbirth, fell by more than 50 percent.

He was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 2012 – 2016 and was praised for his diplomatic skills, then left office to run for the W.H.O. job.

>> ALSO READ : Cholera outbreak hits 18,000 in Ethiopia (Reuters)

During Dr. Tedros’s campaign, he has been put on the defensive for working for a repressive government. Human Rights Watch and even the State Department have accused Ethiopia’s ruling party of displacing thousands of citizens, gunning down hundreds of protesters and jailing or torturing political opponents and journalists.

He has answered that some human rights violations were serious mistakes, but argues that Ethiopia is a “nascent democracy” with the growing pains common to new governments.

Dr. Nabarro is a British public health specialist who has led United Nations responses to Ebola, avian flu, hunger and other health crises.

The third candidate for the top W.H.O. post is Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist and an expert on noncommunicable diseases.

Dr. Nabarro acknowledged occasionally getting advice from Mr. Gostin, but expressed surprise and some dismay that the issue had come up so late in the race.

“I’m quite keen to be super careful to not pursue any activity that might be considered inappropriate,” Dr. Nabarro said.

Dr. Tedros compared the accusation to James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, announcing a reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server last year just before Election Day in the United States.

If Dr. Nabarro really did not know, “he is not in control of his team,” Dr. Tedros said. He said Dr. Nabarro’s backers have a “typical colonial mind-set aimed at winning at any cost and discrediting a candidate from a developing country.”

  • Eritrea Health Facts (just for your own information)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c2b814196a30ab65f013aac0c74665d0e3fd628ef72edf60d60816f28952cf0.jpg
    (courtesy of Hizbawi Menghisteab )

  • No skills, No integrity

    I don’t trust an Agame to run anything, much less the WHO. I think he’s in over his head. He has neither the skills, nor the integrity to run a worldwide organization like WHO.

    • Balance

      When God is with you, doesn’t matter WHO is against. It would have been nice to see our Northern people leave that ugly colonial mind set but even after so called independence, it’s nowhere to be found. DR. Adhanom has the entire Africa, medical professionals as well as Jigiga to Axum, Harrar to Godar in his home country praying for him. Even if he is not chosen cuz of smear campaign, we couldn’t have been any more proud of our son. Shame on you, komal.

      • No skills, No integrity

        The only reason he has gotten this far in the process is because he bribed countries and hired a public relations / lobbying firm to push his case. And you KNOW IT. Otherwise, the guy didn’t even have answers to basic interview questions. He looked like a deer in a headlight. TN, kindly please find that clip and post it for Balance.

      • One Observer

        LOLLLLL …. “Jigiga to Axum, Harrar to Godar in his home country praying for him.”

        Prayers are not good enough for his sins, Mr. deranged.

      • Halhal

        Prayers are good. Our Eritrean culture is based on God fearing good people who believe in the power of prayer. Living a truthful life with dignity and integrity is even better. Unfortunately, truthfulness, dignity and integrity are a rare human quality now days and very much absent in the Woyane gene pool.
        Your clueless, thief, a lying scumbag and incompetent Woyane fake Dr. is only suitable as a criminal inmate at the Hague.

        • Balance

          Facts can’t be denied by the likes of you, check out the link to verify it. Also, “Eritrean culture” is no existence without Ethiopia. It’s better to say, Ethiopian culture we borrowed sir.
          https://youtu.be/OpELK8pCu8c

          • Kaleab B

            LOL… Clinton will say anything if you pay him $20 million.

            As for history Eritrean history, “Sentek” please stop embarrassing yourself

          • wedinakfa

            Did you ask Alamoudi how much he paid Clinton to back the stupid boy of tigray? ill gotten money can buy you nay stupid white man like the one above!!!

          • According to the ICRC, Cholera claimed 115 lives in Yemen since April 27. On the one hand, the criminal TPLF regime still denying the existence of the epidemic in the Ogaden region. According to the ONLF, more than 300 people died last week alone.

            Read: https://onlf.org/?p=909

          • Dr. Nabarro: “World health officials believe Ethiopia is suffering a cholera outbreak even now, while still denying it.”

          • Dr. Nabarro: ‘World health officials believe Ethiopia is suffering a cholera outbreak even now, while still denying it.’

          • Halhal

            Did you know a Woyane crony committed to donate $20,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2007?

            https://ecadforum.com/2016/05/24/ethiopia-mohammed-al-amoudi-and-hillary-clinton/

            Stupid Woyane clowns, all you know is copy and pasted without understanding what you are copying and pasting. Your fake Dr. copied and pasted narratives about western public medical services and asinine mambo jumbo narratives about development goals and he could not understand nor can he answer a simple question from the Brazilian representatives. You are your Woyane village idiots are nothing but shameful lying scumbags.

          • hawi55

            Surprisingly halhal bro.., The clinton global initiative was where Obama incriminated himself in human trafficking wagging his finger at Eritrean sanctions.

          • hawi55

            Bill clinton and his wife are the most HATED people in america today. These people have enriched themselves at the expense of Avg americans. They are close to being billionaires today. The clinton foundation went into haiti and haiti became 100x worse and now conveniently hillary clintons brother owns many of haita’s gold mines LMAO.. you can’t make this shit up man.

            I guess when Obama said he renewed sanctions on Eritrea that was winking to clinton’s HEY they have GOLD there. God Bless Wedi afom 100million times over even his detractors will testify to his guarding Eritreans wealth.

      • Berhane

        Ata komal! Halifulka Komal kitbil? Those are your cousins do not insult your family. And “colonial mentality”????…in the one hand you accuse us for having “self sufficient” policy, and in the other hand you accuse of having colonial mentality…make up your mind….pls dig the late PM video on ultimate “hisidina” and your entire “no peace no war policy” strungle Eritrea economically and wach it disintigrate etc…what more of could i say…..ow yea you must habe had some donkey cells as of lately you are slaughtering them….and you talk about shame? Hummmmthey hafir dimu….adgi we adgi!

        • Beles

          KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK Mr/miss.. sentiko/shegar addis/Ethio/balance !! he is talking his wish?? He has microcephaly!!!

        • Balance

          I didn’t accuse you of having self reliance, I accused you of putting pride first and reality last. Self reliance is a beautiful thing but achieving it comes after hard work building infrastructure, energy as well as educating the youth. In your case, you have no water, refused to even understand global economics, denying people are leaving in masses, at war with everyone and gave guns to the youth instead of books while claiming self reliance, that’s a sin komal. As for the Dr. we have done all the necessary mechanisms to take him all the way to the finshing line. First African, son of Ethiopia to lead WHO. Haters
          https://youtu.be/OpELK8pCu8c

      • Beles

        Ayte koshe !!!!!!!!!!!! KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK Mr/miss.. sentiko/shegar addis/Ethio/balance TPLF Agent !! Did you say Komal???hahhahahha no one calls your name yet !!! Write me in Tigrinya pls!!! you know I know you don’t know how to write and read in Tigrinya (I have been followed you for long time you never comment anything when people posting in Tigrinya that tells me a lot any ways( we know how our southern brothers( neighbors) talk!!! BTW you are talking your wish?? Everybody knows you have microcephaly!!!

      • wedinakfa

        Did you write “komal” , looool you made my day baby agame, you can say whatever you like but that is exclusively for you and your clan woy-ane boy!

    • Uglygeneration

      sham on u…..insanity, crying alone while the world including the hijacked midre-habesha…hahaha. ezi seb wshtawi mrgiga’e yedlyo alo…..bflay eka eti kab adu hadimu ab sdet zkmet. tserfi ab Eirtrea ztefeteret nkmesil neniresu ybala’e alo. ala zeyblu elbi nay tserfi kalat. tseyaf kalat mtikam kemti temlas nay hmam mlkit yu. kndu ka tseyaf yu…….bejakum zemenina baelina ntsebko!

    • Uglygeneration

      sham on u…..insanity, crying alone while the world including the hijacked midre-habesha is supporting the hero…hahaha. ezi kab hsidina halfka entay kbahal ykel. ezi seb wshtawi mrgiga’e yedlyo alo…..bflay eka eti kab adu hadimu ab sdet zkmet. tserfi ab Eirtrea ztefeteret nkmesil neniresu ybala’e alo. ala zeyblu elbi nay tserfi kalat. tseyaf kalat mtikam kemti temlas nay hmam mlkit yu. kndu ka tseyaf yu…….bejakum zemenina baelina ntsebko!

      • One Observer

        Easy TPLFite. You gonna have a heart attack. Tedros will be fine. In fact, he might even be the next PM of TPLF… LOLLLLL. Anything is possible in the land of TPLF Ethiopia.

  • Raee

    If Weyane//Tedros Adhanom can not run Ethiopia efficiently he has no ability or the capacity to run WHO. So if anyone cares about WHO Tedros Adhanom should not be considered for this grand job.

  • Saynii Mooti

    እርር
    በል ጠላቴ
    ድብን
    በል ጠላቴ አሉ ጴንጤዎች ሲዘምሩ

    Egypt supports Ethiopian candidate running for WHO secretary general post

    Former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, who is running for the post of secretary general of the World Health Organization, paid a two-day visit to Cairo starting Saturday within his electoral campaign, ahead of the final elections tour slated for May 23 in Geneva.

    Adhanom was received at Cairo International Airport by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for African Affairs Mohamed Idris, who delivered greetings from Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as well as Egypt’s support for the Ethiopian candidate who represents Africa.

    Idris also delivered instructions from Shoukry to the Egyptian delegation in Geneva in coordination with the African delegations to support the Ethiopian candidate as Egypt is keen that Africa gets a fair share of pivotal international posts which will support the African interests.

    https://www.egyptindependent.com//news/egypt-supports-ethiopian-candidate-running-who-secretary-general-post

    • You can make Director General for WHO out of a thug but you can’t unmake the thug into a Director General. That’s why we say #NoTedros4WHO

    • One Observer

      LOLLLL… The fact is the next director general of WHO will be selected through a secret vote by some 194 countries. The key words here are SECRET VOTE

      Teddy is just wasting time and resources flying around asking for votes. instead, he should have used the money to feed starving Ethiopians.

  • Ethiopia’s long history of denying cholera outbreaks, usually covering it up using the euphemism of Acute Water Diarrhea (AWD).

    • Zemen

      First, the guy called “Saynii Mooti” is pretending to be an Oromo by taking Oromo name, while he couldn’t accurately write his name in Oromo language. For sure Woyane in sheep cloth. Oromos have no any problem with Eritrean folk and their government.

      Second, Tedros Adhanom who has Ethiopians blood on his hand and even can’t speak English, let alone skill and compatence will not deserve to come to such a high position.

      Third, if Eritreans are jealous, in 1991 as they had ousted the Derg regime, they would have occupied the entire Ethiopia and declared the federal system, the tool with which today Woyane is exploiting Ethiopia.

      Fourth, look, today, wherever you go and see, Eritreans are worldwidely friendly people, while the Agames are confined into their burrows of isolation.

      • Kaleab B

        For whatever reason, these Tigryan elites are obsessed with the word “jealous.” As you may know, psychologists note that people who accuse others of jealousy do suffer from inferiority complex — which is characterized as “lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and feelings of not measuring up to standards.” So, these Woyanistas from Tigray are doing their best to feel superior in order to feel better and cheat their psychological instability. What a shame.

  • This is laughable ….

    TPLF propaganda mouthpiece AigaForum.com comes with a counter attack in an attempt to save the sinking ship of the criminal Dr Tedros by accusing his contender Dr Nabarro with link to ‘terrorists’ group. Which ‘terrorist’ group, if I may ask? Ginbot-7. LMAO …..

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe43ef1b89f9470d868a4118d54abb4dcc7d45fb7c16c5aed549c7708d429900.png

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