NEW WAVE OF LEADERSHIP | WHO Appoints Regional Directors for Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific Regions

On January 23, 2024, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board announced the appointment of three new Regional Directors to spearhead the organization’s efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific regions.

These influential professionals were selected by Regional Committees and confirmed by the Executive Board.

Beginning their roles on 1st February 2024, Dr. Hanan Hassan Balkhy will take charge as Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ms. Saima Wazed will lead South-East Asia, and Dr. Saia Ma’u Piukala will head the Western Pacific region. Each of these dynamic leaders will serve for a five-year term.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warmly congratulated the Regional Directors on their new appointments, stating, “I look forward to collaborating with them to further our mission of achieving Health for All.”

Dr. Hanan Balkhy will command international health efforts from the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt, coordinating work across 22 countries and territories encompassing 745 million people. An accomplished graduate of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, she boasts over 20 years of experience leading impactful public health initiatives throughout Saudi Arabia.

 Ms. Saima Wazed will direct health initiatives from the South-East Asia Regional Office in New Delhi, India, taking charge of operations in 11 countries with a staggering combined population of over 2 billion individuals. With extensive education and experience in clinical psychology and organizational leadership, she brings a wealth of expertise to her new role.

Lastly, Dr. Saia Ma’u Piukala will oversee international health activities from the Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila, Philippines, spanning across 37 countries and areas home to nearly 1.9 billion people. A seasoned politician and public health leader with nearly three decades of experience in surgery and health-related roles, Dr. Piukala is uniquely qualified to champion vital initiatives in this vast and diverse region.

The Thalassaemia International Federation – TIF congratulates the three new Regional Directors and remains steadfast in its commitment to support the continued advancement of global health initiatives.

WHO Press Release


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