WHO Announces Appointment of Three New Regional Directors to Lead Global Health Initiatives
Dhaka — The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board has appointed three new Regional Directors to oversee international health efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific Regions, effective February 1, 2024. Dr Hanan Hassan Balkhy, Ms Saima Wazed, and Dr Saia Ma’u Piukala will each serve a five-year term in their respective regions.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, extended congratulations to the new appointees and expressed optimism about their contributions to advancing the organization’s mission of achieving “Health for All.”
Dr Hanan Balkhy, based in Cairo, Egypt, will lead health initiatives in 22 countries and territories with a population of 745 million. With a background in paediatrics and infectious diseases, Dr Balkhy has held key roles in international health, including as Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistance at WHO headquarters.
Ms Saima Wazed, positioned in New Delhi, India, will direct health work in 11 countries with over 2 billion people. A clinical psychologist, she previously served as Advisor to the Director-General of WHO on Mental Health and Autism, and played crucial roles in mental health initiatives in Bangladesh.
Dr Saia Ma’u Piukala, based in Manila, Philippines, will oversee health efforts across 37 countries and areas, representing almost 1.9 billion people. With nearly 30 years of experience, Dr Piukala is a politician, public health leader, and surgeon. He served as the Minister of Health of Tonga and advocated for initiatives addressing noncommunicable diseases, safe surgery, climate change and health, and disaster preparedness and response.
The newly appointed Regional Directors will play pivotal roles in steering global health strategies, working towards achieving health equity and addressing pressing health challenges in their respective regions.