Islamabad: The recent appointment of eminent public health specialist, Dr Zafar Mirza, as the Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination was welcomed by the global and national public health fraternity.
Assigning health at the federal level to a top expert in the field with years of relevant experience in Pakistan and at the regional and global levels is expected to augur well for the reform agenda promised by Prime Minister, Imran Khan. The new incumbent has the vision, capacity, and capability to introduce and implement sweeping reforms in healthcare.
Until yesterday, Dr Zafar Mirza was serving at the post of Director, Health System Development, at the WHO’s Office for Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) based in Cairo, Egypt. The post portfolio covers Universal Health Coverage, primary healthcare, health governance and financing, health workforce development, integrated health service delivery, pharmaceuticals, and health technologies.
Dr Zafar Mirza also served as the acting WHO Representative in Iran and remained the team lead for Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property at the WHO, Geneva. He remained functional as the Regional Adviser for Essential Medicines and Pharmaceuticals in Cairo. Earlier on, he served as the founding National Coordinator of The Network for Consumer Protection in Pakistan.
Eisenhower Fellow (2004), Britannia Scholar (1994), and holder of a Master’s degree in Public Health (London), Dr Zafar had been on the faculty of Boston School of Public Health, Joint Faculty of WHO Harvard Medical School, and the Federal Health Services Academy of Pakistan.