Mrs Saraki mourns death of WHO’s head of UHC, Salama

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has expressed its condolences on the sudden death of Dr Peter Salama, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Director For Universal Health Coverage (UHC) – Life Course.

Its Founder, Mrs Toyin Saraki, expressed shock on Saturday over Salama’s death which was announced on Jan. 24.

Saraki in a statement, described his death as an immensely sad loss for the WHO family and the world of global health.

“The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and I extend our most profound sympathies and condolences to the WHO and Dr Salama’s family, friends and colleagues.

“He was 51 years old and leaves behind his wife and three children,” she said.

“Dr Salama was so generous in sharing the depth and breadth of his knowledge as we advocated to establish the essential elements for Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

“The Wellbeing Foundation Africa will miss him enormously, our sympathies, condolences and prayers are with his colleagues, friends and family; may his soul rest in peace, Amen!” Saraki said.

Also, WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “Peter embodied everything that is best about WHO and the United Nations – professionalism, commitment and compassion.

“Our hearts are broken.”

Ghebreyesus said Salama, a medical epidemiologist from Australia, joined WHO in 2016 as Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies programme, which he led until 2019.

He said also that before joining WHO, Salama was Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organisation that he joined in 2002.

“Dr Salama led UNICEF’s global response to Ebola, served as its Representative in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe between 2009 and 2015; Chief of Global Health and Principal Advisor on HIV/AIDS in New York between 2004 and 2009.

“He was also Chief of Health and Nutrition in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2004.

“He had also worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and Concern Worldwide in several countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa,” the Director-General said.

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