Dr Hussein A. Gezairy, Regional Director Emeritus
Dr Hussein A. Gezairy served as Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean from 1982 to 2012.
His term of office ended on 31 January 2012. At the 58th Session of the Regional Committee in October 2011, the Regional Committee recognized Dr Gezairy “for his dedicated leadership and invaluable contribution to health development in the Eastern Mediterranean Region” and made him Regional Director Emeritus.
During his tenure, Dr Gezairy promoted and fostered a close working relationship with national and international and partners in the health and development sectors to advance the cause of health and development of the population in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Dr Gezairy joined WHO as Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean in 1982. As Regional Director, Dr Gezairy placed major focus on poverty reduction and health development through community-based initiatives. He also stressed the importance of noncommunicable diseases, and identified the Tobacco-Free Initiative as a priority programme in the Region. Dr Gezairy was a driving force behind the establishment of the Global Arabic Programme, which provides health workers, professionals and the public with critical health and biomedical information in Arabic.
Dr Gezairy is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England. In 1969 he established and became founding Dean of the first Faculty of Medicine in his home country, Saudi Arabia, at King Saud University in Riyadh. Dr Gezairy was appointed Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia in 1975. Under his leadership, three more medical faculties were established, fulfilling the medical education needs of Saudi Arabia, and primary health care services were expanded throughout the country.
Dr Abdul Hussein Taba
Dr Abdul Hussein Taba of the Islamic Republic of Iran served as Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean from 1957 to 1982. Dr Taba was a medical graduate of the University of Birmingham and held post-graduate degrees in medicine and surgery from the universities of London and Paris. A former Director-General of Health of Iran, he was head of the Iranian delegation to the third, fourth and fifth World Health Assemblies. During his 25 years as Regional Director, Dr Taba maintained a steady focus on developing the health workforce and health services in the Region. In 1978 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Society of Medicine in London, and was introduced as “WHO’s most respected statesman…crucial in promoting a unified approach to world health problems.”
Dr Aly Tewfik Shousha
Dr Aly Tewfik Shousha of Egypt was the first Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr Shousha received a degree in medicine from the University of Berlin and a post-graduate degree in bacteriology from the University of Zurich. A former Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health of Egypt, Dr Shousha played an integral role in the shaping the early development of the World Health Organization. He was a key member of the Technical Preparatory Committee of WHO and took part in the formulation of WHO’s Constitution. Dr Shousha served as Regional Director from 1 July 1949 until his retirement in 1957. In 1966, the AT Shousha Foundation was established in his memory. An annual prize is awarded by the Foundation to persons contributing to improving health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.