Minister chairs WHO session to elect eastern Mediterranean head


ISLAMABAD: Federal Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar chaired a special session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean region countries in Geneva to elect the new regional head of the organization.

The election was held after the sudden demise of incumbent Regional Head Dr Mahmoud Fikri of the United Arab Emirates, said a press release issued here on Sunday.

Saira Afzal Tarar presided over the entire election process participated by seven countries of the region, including Oman, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

The candidates fielded by the respective countries were top health professionals of international standing. Each candidate made a presentation to the session on how they propose to take forward the agenda to improve the health of the people of the region that stretches from Pakistan in South Asia to Mauritania in North Africa.

Two rounds of the elections were held. Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari of Oman having received the highest number of votes 18 in the first round and 12 in the final round was declared successful in the elections when results were announced by Saira Afzal Tarar.

Consequent upon winning the elections, Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari of Oman will assume the office of Regional Director WHO EMRO for a period of five years. The regional office is in Cairo, Egypt.

Speaking on the occasion, Saira Afzal Tarar extended heartiest congratulations to the Regional Director-elect and called upon all countries of the region to extend him fullest support in the realization of the common objective of improving the health and well being of the people of the region.

She thanked the Acting Regional Director Dr Jouad Mahjour for his leadership in the interim period and expressed appreciation for the election staff for the highly transparent conduct of the elections.

She said since this was her last meeting before the end of her tenure she would like to thank all regional countries for extending cooperation to her as chair of the Regional Committee of WHO Eastern Mediterranean region.

The minister also made special mention of the regional committee meeting participated by ministers and high officials of 22 countries in October last year in Islamabad which she hosted and thanked the regional countries for making it a huge success.