In a rare move, a Bangladeshi health professional has been appointed as the representative of the WHO to the Maldives. Dr. Nazneen Anwar, a public health expert with more than 35 years of professional experience in the field of public health under her belt, was nominated as the WHO Representative in the Maldives on April 8, 2021.
Dr. Nazneen Anwar presented her letter of Credence to the Foreign Minister of the Maldives Abdulla Shahid on April 18. It is mentionable that she is the first Bangladeshi woman to be awarded this post by the World Health Organization.
Apart from holding a Master’s degree in public health and a certificate in public health research by the Harvard University, Dr Nazneen Anwar has garnered more than 35 years of professional hands-on experience in multiple fields, including mental health, health policy, planning, and capacity development, non-communicable diseases, nutrition, vaccine-preventable diseases, disability prevention, health research, and development. She has worked in different capacities for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for South-East Asia, WHO Country Office Bangladesh, and Ministry of Health, Government of Bangladesh.
Credited with mapping out detailed plans for the development and implementation of several innovative approaches aimed at strengthening mental health care systems, she has pulled off different initiatives related to mental health and substance use policy with flying colors.
Dr. Nazneen Anwar is the third among 7 children of her parents. Born into an aristocratic Muslim family in Chattogram, Nazneen Anwar’s father, the late Mahbub Alam Anwar, was the founding president of the Agrabad Chamber (now FICCI, Foreign Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industries). Mother of two sons and one daughter, Nazneen was a student of St. Scholastica High School, Chittagong College, while her alma mater was Chittagong Medical College.
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