June 07, 2017: Dr. Sania Nishtar

Dear friends,

I am sure that you are all aware of the outcome of the election for Director-General of the World Health Organization. The Assembly elected Dr. Tedros and I wish him well for his leadership of the organization. I also wish the best for Dr. Nabarro as he continues with his work to promote health and well being.

The campaign was an incredible experience and I am so grateful for the steadfast support of Government of Pakistan, so many member states, civil society, public health experts, women leaders around the world, my small network of volunteers, and those who participated actively in debates on social media and beyond for believing in my vision and my approach to the election process.

Since declaring my candidacy in early 2016, I visited 55 countries, held bilateral meetings with more than 190 countries, mostly at the ministerial level and have spoken with thousands of people about their hopes and concerns—both regarding WHO specifically and about health, more broadly. Though we may share different cultures and backgrounds, you have welcomed me into your lives and into your hearts.

While I am clearly disappointed by the outcome, I am humbled to have initialized an international movement for change in drawing attention to some of the challenges facing the UN system. I feel deeply honored that my campaign is being recognized internationally for its principled and ethical approach. As outlined in my final Op-Ed in the campaign and reiterated in my speech prior to the ballot on May 23rd, 2017, my candidacy stood for a “new deal”– one where transparency and accountability are central to delivering institutional reform and health for all.

With this letter, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you and let you know what an extraordinary privilege it was to have contributed to this process. I remain fully committed to ensuring health for all and doing all I can to make that a reality to the millions that still do not have access to quality health services. I thank you for your support, your partnership and hospitality and the respect and regard that you have shown in this effort to drive true change.

I have received hundred of emails and letters following the results of the vote and I am energized by the support from member states, civil society in Pakistan and women’s groups across the world. As I return to Islamabad to spend time with my family, who I’ve heavily neglected through the campaign, I will weigh my options before jumping into the next challenge.

Thank you again for the honor of having me as your candidate and your trust and faith in me. After three decades working to improve the health for the poorest and most marginalized communities, I remain convinced that united we can overcome any challenge, no matter how daunting.

With gratitude,

Dr. Sania Nishtar


Links to articles by Shahina Maqbool, Mohammad Hamid Zaman and Mashal Gauhar following the vote can be accessed here.

Other Links

Endorsements | Newsletter I | Newsletter II | Newsletter III | Newsletter IV | Newsletter V | Gratitude Newsletter

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