WHO honours excellence in public health in the South-East Asia Region


10 September 2014, Dhaka:The World Health Organization today honoured Ms Saima Hossain for her outstanding contributions in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Ms Hossain is the Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Autism in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh. Ms Hossain is among the first two recipients of the newly instituted Award for Excellence in Public Health which were conferred by WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

Dr Khetrapal Singh commended Ms Hossain as the driving force behind Bangladesh’s leadership in advancing the cause of autism in the Region and worldwide. “Ms Hossain’s work has helped to build multidisciplinary/multi-stakeholder partnerships for ASDs and childhood development disorders which resulted in the adoption of resolutions at the United Nations and the World Health Organization” said Dr Khetrapal Singh.

WHO also recognized the noteworthy contributions of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of Timor-Leste. Malaria caused over 223 000 cases in 2006 with over 68 deaths. With WHO technical assistance and strong political commitment, the NMCP launched a vigorous antimalarial effort across the country. By 2013, the malaria cases declined dramatically to 1040 with only three deaths. With the incidence of <1 case per 1000 population, the country achieved its MDG target for malaria.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh congratulated the NMC Programme for its laudable success and said, “The National Malaria Control Programme of Timor-Leste is to be commended for saving lives and achieving the MDG target for malaria in such a short time and with such a dramatic result. It can well inspire other malaria control programmes in developing countries.”

Henceforth each year, the WHO Regional Director will present two Awards for Excellence in Public Health. While one award will be for an individual, the second will be for an institution for consistent dedication to their chosen field of work.

a) Thirty-second Meeting of Ministers of Health of WHO’s South-East Asia Region
b) Sixty-seventh Session of the Regional Committee for South-East Asia

When: 9 – 12 September 2014

Where: Hotel Sonargaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh


WHO’s South-East Asia Region comprises the following 11 Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Media Contacts

Ms Vismita Gupta-Smith, Public Information and Advocacy Officer, WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. E-mail: guptasmithv@who.int, Mobile: +91 9871329861, Tel: +91 11 23370804, Extn: 26401.

Ms Shamila Sharma Communication Officer WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia E-mail: sharmasha@who.int Mobile: +919818287256 Tel: +91 11 23370804, Extn: 26575.

Mr Saiful Islam Communication Officer WHO Representative’s Office for Bangladesh, Dhaka. E-mail: islammds@who.int Mobile: (88) 01714 165208 Tel: +88028831415, Extn: 332.

For more information, please visit our website: www.searo.who.int

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Sixty-seventh Session of the Regional Committee

9-12 September 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh