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WHO gets new Africa region head

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th January 2015 03:12 PM

The first woman to hold this position of WHO director for its regional office for Africa has been announced. Notably, Dr. Rebecca Moeti begins her 5-year term at a critical juncture

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The first woman to hold this position of WHO director for its regional office for Africa has been announced. Notably, Dr. Rebecca Moeti begins her 5-year term at a critical juncture

By Watuwa Timbiti

The first woman to hold this position of WHO director for its regional office for Africa has been announced.

Notably, Dr. Rebecca Moeti begins her 5-year term at a critical juncture, as the global body begins major reforms adopted in the wake of the Ebola crisis.

Speaking after her appointment, Moeti, who is from the Republic of Botswana, pledged to accord the highest priority to the Ebola Virus disease outbreak in West Africa and the implementation of WHO global reform programmes.

“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.

In the same breath, Moeti has outlined a bold programme of reform to make WHO’s African Regional Office a more agile and responsive agency, for instance, apart from commitment to accomplish the job on Ebola, she has pledged to work toward universal health coverage to expand access to lifesaving health services and preventive care across the region, and to ensure countries are better-equipped to handle future public health threats.

Moeti, who starts her term on February 1, will also help countries in their efforts to make faster progress in reducing deaths among mothers and children and tackling HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, while working hard to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent non communicable diseases.

Background

Moeti’s ascendancy to the coveted office commenced upon her nomination 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.

She 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.

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