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[Perspectives] Ahmed Salim Saif Al-Mandhari: bridge-builder from Oman

“I am a family physician, I am a human being. These two concepts are my main driving force towards whatever I do at all levels as a leader of an organisation”, says Ahmed Al-Mandhari, who became Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) on June 1, 2018. Taking the helm at WHO EMRO, he says, “is a big shift and a major decision in my life”. The post had been vacant since the sudden death of Mahmoud Fikri, a United Arab Emirates national, in October, 2017. During the campaign for WHO EMRO Regional Director, Al-Mandhari set out the challenges ahead: “Our region is really passing through a very critical era, marked by increasingly expanded natural and man-made crises and characterised by severe socio-political and economic instability, weak health systems, insufficient financial resources, unbalanced workforce, an upsurge of old and new communicable diseases, and increasing burden of non-communicable diseases.” In his acceptance speech, he emphasised that every effort must be made to find appropriate solutions to these challenges, particularly for displaced populations and refugees.