Saima Wazed, one of the candidates for the post of World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for South-east Asia, has expressed optimism about her chances, referring to a lot of “positive feedback.”
Saima Wazed, who has worked in the field of autism, speaking to Indian English language news channel WION’s diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, said, “If elected, my real goal is to ensure that mental health, which has been sorely neglected and is a huge challenge, is incorporated within the entire health system.”
WHO's South-east Asia office is one of the six key regional units and works with 11 member states.
Asked about her political links, given she is the daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Saima Wazed said, “I have always known who I am, and I know that there will always be a reminder of that, but I was also raised as a refugee, I was also raised by a mother who had lost everything overnight.”
“When you're the daughter of somebody very, very important and very successful, everybody assumes that things are much easier for you, but you don't get to be successful unless you work hard,” Saima Wazed said.
The names of the candidates for the election of the next regional director for WHO SEARO were sent by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to the relevant member states on August 18, 2023.
The candidates are Saima Wazed Putul, nominated by Bangladesh, and Dr Shambhu Prasad Acharya, nominated by Nepal.
The Regional Committee of WHO South-east Asia
will vote to nominate the next regional director in a closed meeting during its seventy-sixth session from October 30 to November 2, in New Delhi, India.
The nomination will then be submitted for appointment by the 154th session of the WHO Executive Board, which takes place from January 22 to 27, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The newly appointed regional director will take office on February 1, 2024 for a five-year term and be eligible for reappointment once.