WHO appoints Moeti as Africa regional director - CNBC Africa

WHO appoints Moeti as Africa regional director

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WHO appoints Dr Matshidiso Moeti as its new regional director for Africa. PHOTO: France24.com

Moeti, who was nominated by health ministers of the 47 member states of the WHO Africa region, is set to take up her position on 1 February 2015, for a five-year term.

She will be succeeding Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, who has served in the position for the past 10 years. 

Prior to her appointment, Moeti, originally from Botswana, was the coordinator of the intercountry support team for the South and East African countries of the WHO's Africaregion.

She is also a public health veteran with more than 35 years of national and international experience with WHO, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Botswana Ministry of Health.

Following her appointment, Moeti said that she would make the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa her highest priority.

(READ MORE: WHO says cash crunch, rains could thwart Ebola efforts)

WHO added that she would be working with colleagues and partners to help affected countries halt the spread of the disease, to work on a recovery agenda and to rebuild health systems to withstand similar shocks in the future.

Moeti stated that she will also be helping countries in their efforts to fast-track progress made in reducing deaths among mothers and children and tackling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected topical diseases.

“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,” she told delegates of the WHO executive board.

Dr Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a member of the team that co-discovered the Ebola virus in 1976, added “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 needs,” he said.