May 20, 2017: Dr. Sania Nishtar

Dear friends,

Last week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), multiple laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever were reported in the northeastern region of the country. So far, three people have died and additional cases are under investigation. Memories of the West African Ebola outbreak triggered global headlines and the country response is in full swing.

As we commend the health workers in the DRC, I want to dedicate my final newsletter as a candidate to the heroic health workers around the world who protect our health daily. They are the backbone of the public health system. From providing primary care to responding to urgent outbreaks – many of which do not make headlines – they truly deserve our utmost praise and support.

I have just finished my 15-country trip across Europe and with just three days left, I’m energized by the new support that is coming in everyday from around the world. In my final op-ed before the vote, published in the BMJ, I discussed my approach to the campaign, which will have an important bearing on implementing my vision for a new WHO

Public health legend, Sir George Alleyne, teamed up with eight other global health leaders: Sir Cary Cooper, Prof. Pekka Puska, Dr. Robert Beaglehole, Dr. Ruth Bonita, Prof. Alexandre Kalache, Dr. Mohamed Abdi Jama, Prof. Fareed Minhas, and Prof. Samad Shera to support my candidacy. I couldn’t be more honored by their collective support. Read more

Dr Szócska is a medical doctor, academic and politician, and former Minister of State for Health of Hungary. I'm very grateful for the endorsement of Dr. Miklós who is widely respected in Europe and internationally. Read letter

Our movement has gained substantial momentum in the last few weeks and it was great to hear that 350 women and global health leaders from 40 countries have signed an International women’s declaration started by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in Pakistan. Read more

Double Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy wrote an op-ed about her work challenging gender inequity and what the impact of my candidacy would have across the region. Read more

To mark Mother’s Day, HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan wrote a personal account of how cancer has affected her family. I have worked for many years on addressing the growing burden of non-communicable diseases. As she is the mother of a cancer survivor, her endorsement of my candidacy was particularly touching. Read more

While those in the DRC work to contain the Ebola outbreak, Dr. Terence Gibson wrote a strong piece about the systemic challenges he faced on the ground in Freetown, Sierra Leone and the reforms needed to ensure that WHO is able to respond effectively when disease outbreaks inevitably happen. Dr. Gibson is an extraordinary health worker, I take his points very seriously and I am thankful for his confidence in my candidacy. Read more

I’ve been working with Prof. Sidney Smith Jr. for the past two decades. He’s a leader in cardiovascular disease, has driven change and innovation in every role he’s had and I very much appreciate his long-term support for my candidacy. Read letter

Former President of the World Heart Federation, Prof. Mario Maranhao has been an inspiration to the noncommunicable disease community and I was honoured to receive his endorsement. Read letter

One of South Asia's most effective and devout health journalists, Shahina Maqbool wrote a piece about the international women's declaration and her own experience of working with me and the team at Heartfile. Read more

Johanna Ralston is a fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and former CEO of the World Heart Federation and Vice-Chair of the NCD Alliance. Joanna’s piece in Euractiv discussed the changing nature of global health leadership in a multipolar world and opportunity it presented Europe’s opportunity. Johanna was an early supporter of the campaign and her personal piece published this week is a wonderful testament to her strength and courage. Read more

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, Founder and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, wrote a fascinating piece on gender inequality in the UN system. I have committed to working with member states on this issue from the first day of my term as Director-General. Read more

I always feel fortunate to be able to share my experiences (both good and bad) with young leaders in health. I met Narmeen several years ago and reading her op-ed about the struggle for health in Pakistan filled me with pride. Read more

I want to say thank you, once again, for all your encouragement and support during this campaign. In all my conversations, I have asked that countries vote for me — not because of my gender or where I am from — but because of my experience and vision for transforming the WHO. With your support, I have never been more confident that united we will deliver on our promise to ensure health for all.



Dr. Sania Nishtar



Endorsements | Newsletter I | Newsletter II | Newsletter III | Newsletter IV | Newsletter V | Nishtar's WHO candidate's webpage

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