World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus came under fire in 2017 over his handling of cholera epidemics in Ethiopia and Sudan. Physicians and health professionals at the time accused him of failing to properly classify outbreaks of the disease in order to avoid embarrassing the two African regimes.
Nearly three years later, Tedros is facing similar allegations over his response to the novel coronavirus pandemic that originated from China. He and the WHO have come under heavy scrutiny for defending the Chinese government’s response to an outbreak in the Wuhan province in November 2019.
A group of American doctors blasted Tedros in September 2017, accusing him of failing to investigate outbreaks of cholera in the African country, which neighbors Ethiopia. Sudanese leaders classified the outbreak as “acute watery diarrhea” rather than cholera, which is caused by a bacteria found in unsanitary drinking water.
The terminology affected whether outside health organizations would marshal resources to fight an outbreak of the deadly bacteria.