Congratulations to School alumnus Dr Matshidiso Moeti, MSc in Community Health for Developing Countries 1986, who was appointed Regional Director for Africa by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a five-year term.
She brings over 35 years of national and international public health experience with WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Botswana Ministry of Health to the role, having provided policy and strategic advice and support on a range of regional and global public health issues.
Dr Moeti, from Botswana, pledged to accord the highest priority to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. She will work with WHO colleagues and partners to help the affected countries halt the spread of the disease and reach zero cases, while starting on the recovery agenda, including the building of resilient health systems able to withstand similar shocks in the future.
She 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.
She told delegates at the WHO Executive Board: “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”.
Her appointment has been widely welcomed by the global health community, which has been calling for the WHO to strengthen its Regional Office for Africa to enable a more coordinated response to emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic.
Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and founding Executive Director of UNAIDS, said: “The Ebola crisis has highlighted the urgent need for strengthened WHO capacity in Africa. I believe that Dr. Moeti is a public health leader who can transform WHO’s Regional Office into the type of institution Africa and the world need.”
Dr Moeti joined the WHO Regional Office for Africa in 1999 from UNAIDS, where she was Team Leader for Africa and Middle East Desk. As Regional Advisor HIV/AIDS for Africa at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, she led on scale-up of treatment in the “3 by 5” initiative to treat 3 million people by 2005. She was appointed Assistant Regional Director in 2008 and Deputy Regional Director in 2011.