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HomeOpinionNine Organizations write an Open letter to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom 

Nine Organizations write an Open letter to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director General 
World Health Organisation 
Avenue Appia 20
1211
Geneva 27
10th May 2022

Dear Director General, 

We write to you on behalf of the doctors, nurses and other health professionals working on the frontlines of the war in Northern Ethiopia. As part of the global medical community, we want to address your actions during the course of the current conflict in Ethiopia and share our sincere concern that you have used your leadership role of a UN agency, mandated to protect global health, to further tensions in Ethiopia and purposefully ignore millions in need. 

Many of us have worked in Afar and Amhara during the conflict. We have seen first-hand the human cost of the fighting: malnutrition, acute injuries, mutilation, rape and death. Seeing such horrors has become part of our day to day lives. 

We have had to work in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances with severely limited resources. But, throughout we upheld our duty and have done everything we can to save lives. 

Here are some statistics from the latest United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs bulletin published on 7th April 2022 to articulate the desperate situation facing these regions:

  • More than 10 million people in Amhara need health services and interventions.
  • In Amhara, more than 500 health facilities, and 1,706 health posts have been damaged and/or looted due to the conflict and need rehabilitation and support.
  • In Afar, only 94 health facilities, or 22 per cent of the 414 facilities, are functional, including two hospitals and 31 health centres.

The current situation is a direct result of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and allied forces’ attacks on the people of Afar and Amhara. During the TPLF’s invasion of Afar and Amhara in June 2021, they undertook a systematic campaign to cripple the region’s health infrastructure as well as injure, rape, and kill civilians. These crimes have been documented by international organisations such as Amnesty International and the UN. We have painfully witnessed it ourselves. 

Efforts to bring aid to the regions and Tigray have been severely hindered in recent months by further TPLF attacks. The UK’s Permanent Secretary to the UN in Geneva Simon Manley confirmed this on the 8th March, stating: “TPLF attacks continue to inhibit delivery of aid across northern Ethiopia.” 

During the conflict, we have looked to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for support. Sadly, we have been forgotten. Under your leadership WHO has ignored the plight of Afar and Amhara. As a Tigrayan, and as a former Health Minister in the TPLF-led Government, we understand your sympathies toward Tigray. Indeed, we too want to see more aid reach our brothers and sisters there. However, raising the alarm for Tigray should not come at the cost of shutting down the needs of Afar and Amhara. 

You have taken a political and overtly biased approach to the conflict. Your actions and rhetoric have helped create a warped international view of what has occurred in Ethiopia. This has been clear throughout the past 18-months. Every press conference, every statement and every tweet has been designed to raise the alarm for Tigray, quieten the TPLF’s destruction of Afar and Amhara and heighten opposition toward the government of Ethiopia. A simple google search of your comments on the conflict highlights it for all to see. 

We were concerned by your trip to Washington D.C. last month to meet with dozens of US Government officials and representatives. It is no coincidence your meetings came at the same time as two bills that seek wide-ranging sanctions against Ethiopia and its people are progressing through Congress. 

Moreover, there is wide frustration among the Ethiopian medical community that you have consistently refused to engage with the country’s Health Ministry and have ignored the Ethiopian Government’s request for an investigation into your actions as the head of the WHO. 

We ask you now, as an Ethiopian, to stop using your considerable influence to further the aims of the TPLF and stop silencing the urgent needs of Afar and Amhara. As the current humanitarian truce holds, instead use your position to improve the health of all Ethiopian people, rather than engage in the politics that has brought so much destruction. 

We will continue working 24/7 to rebuild the health facilities in Afar and Amhara and treat the thousands that need medical attention every day. As clinicians, we look beyond the ethnic tensions that have plagued Ethiopia for three decades and treat everyone in need as equals. It is our sincere hope you take that approach going forward. 

Yours sincerely,

  • Ethiopian Medical Association
  • Ethiopian Public Health Association
  • American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee 
  • Ethiopian Diaspora High Level Advisory Council on COVID-19 
  • Ethiopian Scholars in Nordic Countries 
  • South African Medical Association 
  • Lesotho Medical Association 
  • People To People, Inc.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Subject: “Nine Organizations write an Open letter to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom ” May 10, 2022

    Dear Honourable Professionals
    Do you really ; sincerely, truthfully; honestly from the depth of your hearts and brains believe that your six hundred and fifty eight {658] words will move the Head of the World Health Organization ? You might as well move Ras Dashan Mountain.

    Take it or leave it WE BLACK AFRICANS are what we are, and the way we are, even with impressive doctor of philosophy degrees from the top most enviable universities around the round globe. Proof: We are in the process of witnessing the destruction of an ancient — history loaded black country — called ETHIOPIA.. GO ahead; deny it. That would be a proof that WE ARE PROFESSIONAL AT IT. If you still adamantly refuse the reality of our Africa in totality, go ahead >>> we are all hypnotized already with deep inferiority complex. We no longer own AFRICA and you know who took it from us. Just look around.
    ————————
    Sincere Note: Regardless of what I wrote above, I admire the above listed eight Professional Groups for their ‘EFFORT’, even if we have sadly experienced, the end result of similar seemingly countless groups in the past

  2. I don’t think the director will respond to this letter. First of all, the protocol for his position at WHO may not allow him to respond to letters. It reminds me an incidence of my own about two years ago. I sent an email to one of the local TV news anchors asking her two questions about a story. She never responded. Then I doubled down with my questions and asked her why she did not respond. Then I received a brief answer telling the rules of her media outlets do not allow answering emails directly. Above all he may be having a good time reading the letter just because enemies of the ‘gold’ race are hopping mad by what happened in Afar and Amhara regions. He may be popping champagne bottles in celebration. Please note I did not say ‘golden’ race but rather ‘gold’. ‘Golden’ can mean gold plated or worse yet ‘Swiss gold’ which is bronze made to shine just like real gold for life. But we were told ‘gold’ race which is 24kt 100% pure gold. I’m rusting but Ted is not. That Amhara friend of mine told me he is rusting but Ted is not. All those Afar and Somali friends of mine are all rusting but Ted is not. Everybody else is below the ‘gold’ race station. Capisce?

  3. Dr. Teodros Adhanom has been in the forefront of disseminating the TPLF propaganda using his high position in the UN. What is annoying is that the UN has not urged him to adhere to the rules, cods of conduct and regulations of the WHO. The failure of the UN to do so may raise questions about the long alleged cases of corruption and misconduct in the organizations. It was known that the UNHCR facilitated the re-settlement of the Tigrayans as Eritrean refugees in the west. This abuse of the International system and Dr. Teodros Adhanom`s despicable conduct are unacceptable and undermine the confidence in the UN.

  4. The abominable actions of the tplf-symapthizer at the head of the WHO shows how the UN and its bodies are running dogs of US and the west’s interests. The hell with them – the world is better off without them.

  5. What a shame for the said nine organizations. How come you convict him for ignoring other war victims,when they bloke the avenue for help?

  6. Dr. Teodros Adhanom is indeed the general secretary of the TPLF in exile and is misusing the WHO as a staging forum for disseminating his organization `s disinformation and misinformation. This time he is taking side in the war in Ukraine to position himself as a reliable servant of the west as his recent tweet shows. All the behaviors of this high ranking TPLF official undermine the UN and should not be tolerated. The TPLF is trying to exploit the Eritrean position on the conflict in Ukraine to win the support of the western powers. The most important step to be taken in Tigray is its de-fascistization (ridding it of fascism) for the sake of peace in Ethiopia and the region.

  7. When will Africans learn?

    The true purpose of the WHO is to further Western interests and agendas under the guise of humanitarian aid.

    They are NOT Africa’s saviour, and will never be. What? You think just because he’s the same colour as us he’s got our best interests at heart?

    He’s about effective as Obama (remember that guy?).

    When he was in “power” he did very little to ease the plight and the injustices suffered by his fellow African Americans.

    The West only places Black people in high positions that they can control. REMEMBER THAT!

    • QUOTE: “When will Africans learn” UNQUOTE ???????

      Humble Answer
      Very sad to say, almost NEVER.
      The longevity of our DEAR BLACK AFRICA tells us clearly that there is NO hope for our Dear Black Africa.
      It has “GONE WITH THE WIND” a long, long, long time ago..
      If the above words are not enough, we can replace them by simple ‘naked’ words >>OUR DEAR BLACK AFRICA HAS BEEN DEAD a long time. ago. But no one can prevent us from mimicking that AFRICA IS OURS.
      No wonder we Africans are labelled as HONEST, PURE HEARTED CREATURE UNDER THE SUN.
      Dear Africans, PLEASE LOOK AT YOURSELVES ON YOUR BATHROOM MIRROR.

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