Matshidiso Moeti
Regional Director, WHO Africa
Opening remarks

Matshidiso Moeti, MB, BS, from Botswana, is the first woman to be elected as WHO Regional Director for Africa. Over the past five years, Dr Moeti has led the transformation of WHO in Africa to ensure the organisation is accountable, effective, and driven by results. A key feature of the Regional Director’s leadership is the cultivation of strong partnerships, both with traditional and new partners, including philanthropic foundations, civil society, academia, and increasing engagement with young people and women in global health.

To deliver on the WHO Thirteenth General Programme of Work, the Secretariat is supporting countries to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), improve health security, and promote better well-being to make health a reality for all people in Africa. Innovations and digital health are being leveraged as key tools to improve health outcomes and leapfrog national development.

Supported by Dr Moeti’s leadership and advocacy, momentum for UHC is building across the region. Many countries are undertaking reforms to improve health financing and delivery of essential services. No cases of wild poliovirus have been reported in Africa for over three years and the region is on track to be certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020. WHO is now faster, better co-ordinated, and more effective in supporting countries to prepare for and respond to emergencies, with the average time to control outbreaks in the region reduced from 418 days in 2016 to 51 days in 2018.

Dr Moeti is a public health veteran with almost 40 years of national and international experience. She joined the WHO Regional Office for Africa in 1999 and has served as Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Director of Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO Representative for Malawi, Co-ordinator of the Inter-Country Support Team for the South and East African countries, and Regional Advisor for HIV/AIDS. She is renowned for having led WHO’s “3 by 5” Initiative in Africa at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, resulting in a significant increase in access to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV.

Prior to joining WHO Dr Moeti worked with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) as Team Leader of the Africa and Middle East Desk in Geneva (1997–1999); with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as Regional Health Advisor for East and Southern Africa; and with Botswana’s Ministry of Health as a clinician and public health specialist.

Dr Moeti holds a degree in medicine (MB, BS) and a master’s degree in public health (MSc in Community Health for Developing Countries) from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, respectively. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana.

Source: World Health Organization. “WHO Africa, Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti” was originally published by the World Health Organization: