The World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has been nominated to serve in the same capacity for a second five-year term.
Ms Moeti was nominated on Tuesday by the 47 Member States of the WHO African Region. Nigeria is one of the countries.
The nomination was confirmed via a press statement issued on the agency’s website. It reportedly took place during the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.
The WHO committee is the governing mechanism involving health ministers from all Member States.
Ms Moeti’s candidacy was also endorsed by the African Union Executive Council earlier this year.
Her nomination will be ratified by the 146th WHO Executive Board at its January 2020 session. If ratified, her second term will begin March 1, 2020.
Ms Moeti expressed her appreciation on being re-nominated for the position.
“I am very honoured to be nominated for a second term as Regional Director for Africa,” she was quoted as saying.
She said during the past five years, “she has worked to transform the WHO Secretariat so that they can better respond to the health needs of millions of Africans”.
“I have worked to transform the WHO Secretariat so that we better respond to the health needs of millions of Africans. This nomination is an endorsement of the many achievements we have reached together with health ministries. I intend for us to scale more mountains together over the next five years.”
“The WHO Secretariat is now better organised, resourced and equipped to support Member States to detect and rapidly respond to epidemics and ensure health security in the region.
“My vision is of African people of all ages, all income levels and social groups, and in all places, enjoying good health and well-being, through accelerating towards universal health coverage, preventing and controlling outbreaks and emergencies, and creating environments that promote healthy lifestyles,” Mr Moeti also said.
During her tenure, there had been various health interventions in the Africa region.
Ms Moeti was elected in 2015, when the region was in the throes of the West African Ebola outbreak.
Through the concerted efforts of WHO, governments and partners, the three affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – ended the outbreak by December of that year.
A WHO Health Emergencies Programme was launched in 2016.
In 2018, WHO and partners supported emergency responses to more than 160 public health events in more than 40 countries.
The regional universal health coverage flagship programme was launched in 2017 to promote concrete country actions to ensure that everyone can access the care they need without financial hardship.
By December 2018, 40 Member States had comprehensive national health policies and plans jointly assessed with partners and in line with national development plans.
In her acceptance remarks, Ms Moeti also pledged her continued commitment to transforming the WHO Secretariat as it works with countries in tackling the health challenges facing the region.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, congratulating Ms Moeti, also commended her leadership.
He said Ms Moeti has done an outstanding job over the past five years.
“Under her leadership, the region is making very encouraging progress. Her nomination for another term demonstrates the confidence and the trust that the Member States have in her. It’s been an immense pleasure to work with her, and I look forward to our continued collaboration during her next term.”
If appointed by the Executive Board, Ms Moeti promised to work with Member States and partners to address health challenges within the global WHO Transformation framework and the Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019–2023.
Ms Moeti is a public health veteran, with more than 35 years of national and international experience.
She joined the WHO Regional Office for Africa in 1999.
She has served as Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Director of Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO Representative for Malawi, Coordinator of the Inter-Country Support Team for the South and East African countries and Regional Advisor for HIV/AIDs.
She is renowned for having led the WHO ‘3 by 5’ Initiative in the African Region at the height of the AIDS epidemic, resulting in a significant increase in access to antiretroviral drugs by people living with HIV.