Islamabad, May 19, 2019 (PPI-OT): Dr. Sania Nishtar was appointed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, this week. She also chairs the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan’s largest safety net institution. She is best known for her bold and transformational leadership in the social sectors and health. She has a unique combination of high-level experience in government, civil society and in multilateral institutions, as well as has a background as a physician scientist and thought leader. Dr. Sania Nishtar holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and a Ph.D., from Kings College, London.
She graduated from Khyber Medical University in 1986 as the best graduate setting a college record and later left a lucrative career as Pakistan’s first woman cardiologist and set course on a journey to improve the lives of the marginalized, to challenge business-as-usual models and develop innovative solutions that are internationally acclaimed. Dr. Sania Nishtar is also currently, the co-chair of World Health Organization’s High-Level Commission on Non-communicable diseases along with the presidents of Uruguay, Finland and Sri-Lanka.
She is also a member and former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Healthcare and has recently chaired the U.S National Academy of Sciences Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in low and middle-income countries. In addition, she also chairs the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s Advisory Committee. Earlier she was also founding Chair of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Accountability Panel for Women’s and Children’s health and chaired WHO’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. She has previously founded the NGO Heartfile in Pakistan and has also previously served as a federal minister in the Pakistan government in 2013.
Sania Nishtar has extensively published internationally and is the author of six books. One of her books Choked Pipes (Oxford University Press, 2010) is a post-graduate reference book and has been the subject of a documentary by an award-winning British filmmaker. She is a regular keynote speaker at international events and is the recipient of many national and international awards, including Sitara-i-Imtiaz and the Global Innovation Award. She was nominated by the Government of Pakistan in 2015 to succeed Antonio Guterres (now United Nations secretary general) as the High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2017 Dr. Nishtar was in the running for Director-General of the World Health Organization, and was in the shortlisted three.
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