Bangladesh PM’s daughter to head WHO’s South East Asia region

Dhaka: Saima Wazed, Bangladesh’s candidate and daughter of the country’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, was nominated as the World Health Organisation’s regional director for South-East Asia. She won against Nepal’s candidate, Dr Shambhu Acharya, who has been working in the WHO director-general’s office since 2013.

After the announcement, Wazed wrote on X, “Thank you to @WHOSEARO Member States for choosing me to be their next Regional Director! I would like to pay tribute to our outgoing RD, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, for her decade of service to the public health of our region. A special tribute as well for my fellow nominee in this race, Dr Acharya. In his long & distinguished career, he has been an invaluable asset to @WHO – and I hope our region will continue to benefit from his knowledge & experience. I look forward to building a healthier South-East Asia.”

Her nomination will be submitted during the WHO executive board meeting in January 2204 and she will take office in February. She will succeed India’s Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, who was the first woman to hold the office and remained in the position for two five-year terms.

Wazed, a psychologist by training, has been working extensively in the field of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She has been the chairperson of Bangladesh’s National Advisory Committee on Neurodevelopmental Disorders since 2012. She has also been working as a technical expert on autism and mental health disorder at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital since 2022. She is also the chairperson of the Shuchona Foundation, which is engaged in advocacy, research and capacity building for disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health.

She has said that her vision for the South East Asia region is to work together to better prepare for the next pandemic.

Image courtesy of X@drSaimaWazed

Share this post