PR No.198 OUTGOING WHO COUNTRY CHIEF HONORED Islamabad: January 23, 2017

Dr. Michel Thieren who completes his tenure in Pakistan as country head of World Health Organization was honored in a special ceremony arranged by Ministry of National Health Services here today. The ceremony was participated by high ranking officials and heads of international agencies based in Pakistan.

Paying glowing tributes to the services of Dr. Michel during his tenure from May 2014 to January 2017, Federal Secretary Health Muhammad Ayub Shaikh said Dr. Thieren’s Public health knowledge and wide experience of working in different countries including conflict zones and areas ridden with crisis brought great value to his work in Pakistan presenting diverse challenges.

He added Dr. Thieren stood firmly by us in 2014 as we faced the dual challenge posed by the risk of Ebola virus entering our borders and the seemingly uncontrollable spike in Polio cases.

Federal Secretary Health said we have together taken many steps forward in the area of Mother and child health, enhancing core capacities in International Health Regulations to stop cross border spread of disease, health system strengthening, improving the lot of people with disabilities to mention a few.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Michel Thieren said things are definitely on the right track in Pakistan. Mothers and children are no longer dying every day by hundreds like before. A whole health systemic conscience has emerged. For any child born today, there is more hope for them to well educated, and to live healthier than ever before.

Lauding Pakistan’s progress in Polio Eradication, he said the national polio program is the quintessence of the transformation Pakistan’s health sector is going through: an eminently complex endeavor that cuts across so many disciplines, and that has been able to transcend any party, political, administrative, constitutional and geographical divide. Pakistan is about to eliminate polio because 200 millions people with their leaders have the will to do so. In the 25 years of the Global Polio Eradication Program’s existence, almost no country on the planet has been able to show such a steep percent reduction in polio caseload like Pakistan has in a two-year period, he added.

Later, Secretary Health presented a shield to Dr. Michel in recognition of his outstanding services to the country.

Dr. Thieren upon completion of his tenure in Pakistan has been given the key responsibility of Director WHO Emergency Operations at WHO Regional Office in Cairo.