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WHO Executive Board appoints Regional Directors

Note for the media

The World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board, currently holding its 126th session in Geneva, has appointed Mrs Zsuzsanna Jakab as the new WHO Regional Director for Europe and re-appointed Dr Luis Gomes Sambo as the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Mrs Zsuzsanna Jakab, a Hungarian national was most recently Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ( ECDC) and will take up her new post on 1 February 2010, succeeding Dr Marc Danzon who has served as the Regional Director for Europe for the past 10 years.

Between 1991 and 2002, she held several posts at the Regional Office. Mrs Jakab holds a Master’s degree from Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest, a postgraduate university degree from the University of Political Sciences, Budapest, a diploma of the two foundation courses in public health at the Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg, Sweden and a postgraduate diploma from the National Institute of Public Administration and Management.

"Europe is a unique reservoir of many innovative health policy and health systems solutions that we need to share better with each other and the world" she said in accepting this position." It is my vision to make the Regional Office a strong, respected and evidence-based “European Centre of Public Health Excellence and Innovation”, with leadership in health policy and public health in Europe."

Dr Sambo, is a medical doctor, a public health expert with broad experience in health policy and public health administration. Before joining WHO, Dr Sambo served his native country Angola in various capacities as Vice-Minister of Health, Director of Health Services in the province of Cabinda, and as Director of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Health in Luanda. Dr Sambo, who is the fifth Director of the WHO African Region, begins his second term on 1 February 2010. He will continue to steer the affairs of WHO in the African Region for another five years.

"Despite some of the progress made in improving the health situation in the African Region, maternal and child mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, epidemics and the merging burden of chronic diseases are still hitting very hard, particularly the poorest segments of the population" said Dr Sambo in addressing the Executive Board. " As a matter of strategic directions, we are conscious of the current state towards the achievement of the health MDGs, and the need of accelerating the pace of implementation in Africa".

The WHO Executive Board is comprised of representatives from 34 Member States. The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, to advise it and generally facilitate its work.

For more information contact:

Liuba Negru
Press and Media Relations Officer
WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen
Telephone: +45 39 17 13 44

Sam Ajibola
Press and Media Relations Officer
WHO Regional Office for the African Region, Brazzaville
Telephone: +47 241 39 387
Mobile: +242 653 7022

Fadéla Chaib
Communications Officer
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3228
Mobile : +41 79 475 5556