ZIMBAMBWE—Dr. Desta Tiruneh, a medical doctor by profession, has been selected as the new World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative for Zimbabwe, effective April 1, 2024.

Dr. Tiruneh officially delivered his credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Honourable Frederick Shava, marking the start of his term.

In his new role, Dr. Tiruneh will work with Zimbabwe’s government, the UN system, bilateral and multilateral partners, civil society, and the private sector to accelerate progress towards health-related goals, with a particular emphasis on strengthening the country’s health systems.

Dr. Tiruneh brings more than two decades of development experience to his position.

From September 2017 until March 2024, he served as the WHO Representative in The Gambia.

Dr. Tiruneh previously worked as an assistant professor at a medical school and had several senior positions in health programme management at the district, regional, and national levels in Ethiopia.

After joining WHO in 2021, he worked as an advisor for almost 17 years on immunisation programmes and infectious and noncommunicable disease prevention, control, elimination, and eradication activities.

He possesses M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

While welcoming him, Hon. Shava promised the Zimbabwean government’s complete cooperation during his stay.

He commended WHO for its crucial technical assistance in combating public health issues such as ongoing cholera and polio outbreaks.

Hon. Shava stated that Zimbabwe will continue to collaborate with the WHO to enhance and strengthen health systems and the health sector in general, as well as to build the ability of health sector specialists to deal with and control various diseases that arise in society.

“We acknowledge the role of WHO and appreciate the work being done in various pillars to support country priorities,” he added.

On his part, Dr. Tiruneh acknowledged Zimbabwe’s continuous efforts to address health concerns in the face of difficulties such as brain drain and lauded the country’s dedication to health sector reforms and partnership with international organisations such as WHO.

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