Jan 30, GNA - The Executive Board of World Health Organisation (WHO) has
appointed Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti as the new Director for its Africa
Dr Moeti, the first woman ever to hold the position, was nominated Regional Director by the health ministers of the 47 Member States of the WHO African Region at the annual Regional Committee for Africa in Cotonou, Benin, in November 2014.
Dr Moeti would serve for a five-year term with effect from February 1, succeeding Dr Luis Gomes Sambo who has served as Regional Director for the past 10 years.
In a release issued by WHO and copied to Ghana News Agency, her areas of expertise include a vast range of health sectors including communicable and non communicable diseases, immunisation, maternal and child health, health systems strengthening as well as building partnerships for health and improving the effectiveness of WHO country offices.
Formerly the WHO Representative in Malawi in from 2005 to 2007, Dr Moeti who is from Botswana, led the WHO country team in supporting the government and development partners in managing the health sector.
At the height of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, Dr Moeti led the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s action on treatment scale-up in the context of the “3 by 5” initiative.
Dr Moeti has directly and through her supervisory role supported countries to develop strategies to address health priorities, combining home-grown solutions and adaptation of international best practice.
She joined WHO’s Africa Regional Office in 1999 and started her career working on HIV and AIDS. She has served as Assistant Regional Director from 2008-2011, and also as Director of Non -communicable Diseases.
Prior to WHO she worked with UNAIDS as a Team Leader of the Africa and Middle East Desk in Geneva from 1997-1999 and was the Regional Health Advisor for UNICEF’s Regional Office for East and Southern Africa.
Dr Moeti completed her medical and public health degrees from the University of London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine respectively and specialised in Community Health for Developing Countries.
Speaking after her appointment, Dr Moeti pledged to accord the highest priority to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa upon her assumption into office.
She would work with WHO colleagues and partners to help the affected countries halt the spread of the disease and reach zero cases, while starting on the recovery agenda, including the building of resilient health systems able to withstand similar shocks in the future.
The new Regional Director noted that the outbreak, with its devastating impact on health, families, livelihoods and security in the worst-affected countries, had been a tragic reminder of the importance of investing in good quality, fair health services that reach all citizens in countries, and building up preparedness and capacity to contain infectious diseases.
She would also help countries in their efforts to make faster progress in reducing deaths among mothers and children and tackling HIV and AIDS, TB, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, while working hard to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent non communicable diseases.
“I will fast-track the implementation of WHO’s global reform programme in the African Region, driving towards our being an even more effective, fast-acting and accountable partner to our Member States” she told delegates at the Executive Board meeting.
Prior to her election, Dr Moeti was the Deputy Regional Director and later, Coordinator of the Inter-Country Support Team for the South and East African countries of WHO African Region. She is a public health veteran, with more than 35 years of national and international experience with WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Botswana Ministry of Health.
She has provided policy and strategic advice and support on a range of regional and global public health issues to international organisations and national governments which she has been associated with.