Dr Tedros visits the School on first trip to UK as WHO Director-General

The new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has visited the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on his first visit to the UK since taking up the role on 1 July.
Dr Tedros with School students

As an alumnus and Honorary Fellow, Dr Tedros has strong ties with the School, and he joined Director Professor Peter Piot for a special discussion. Speaking to staff and students he said: “I’m very glad to be back home. I consider the School as my professional home where I started my professional career in a serious way… This is a very small space but the whole world converges here. Not only the Master’s training but you can see yourself as part of this big global community and that feels so special to me.

 "I consider the School as my professional home where I started my professional career in a serious way" - Dr Tedros

“You see the beauty of the world here… We come from different corners of the world, we look different, but you get convinced that our aspirations are the same and that’s when I learned the power of this School.

“Thank you so much to my School and I’m glad to come back and meet my family here.”

Dr Tedros came to London from Hamburg, where he had just led the WHO delegation at the G20 summit, joining other global leaders and Heads of State. Talking about the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, he said: “The communiqué covers the most important issues: universal health coverage, stronger health systems, emergency response and antimicrobial resistance.

“This is a great opportunity…but how do we now make use of this political will to achieve our objectives - the WHO will not alone be able to do this. We have to work with all our partners, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine being one of them, in order to achieve big objectives and by using the opportunity that has opened up now.”

Dr Tedros shared his thoughts, experiences and visions for global health: “A healthy society can bring prosperity. Many countries consider expenditure on health as a waste but it is not. It is actually a means to development.

“One important question is do we really know Universal Health Coverage? What do we mean? We talk about strengthening health systems, what indicators do we have and how do we measure these indicators? That’s actually where the School and others are really needed, to articulate this, to provide clarity on what it means, what it takes and what the measurable indicators are.”

While in London, Dr Tedros is speaking at the Family Planning Summit, and during his discussion at the School he outlined the importance of family planning for all. He highlighted how it can bring social transformation and trigger a range of benefits for society beyond those to mother and child.

Professor Peter Piot and Dr Tedros
Image: Professor Peter Piot and Dr Tedros. Credit: LSHTM

Professor Peter Piot described Dr Tedros as an outstanding leader in public and global health and said the expertise he brings to the role will be extremely valuable: “We’re immensely proud that you’re the first alumnus and Honorary Fellow to become Director-General of WHO.”

Dr Tedros completed a Master’s in Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the School, graduating in 1992. In 2012, the School awarded him an Honorary Fellowship, its most prestigious honour.

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