Areas of support:

  • Health policy and system development
  • Communicable disease control
  • Improving the
    health of women and children

Health policy and system development: The WHO strategy is to improve the development of health policy, planning, regulation and financing, leading to more equitable, responsive and fair financing of a decentralized health system. WHO works to improve governance through enhanced capacity in policy analysis and development as well as strategic planning, legislative and regulatory support.

Human resources are a priority, with support provided to Human Resources for Health (HRH) policy and strategies and training health managers. Information management through strengthening the Health Management Information System (HMIS) provides a foundation for appropriate policy development. WHO also contributes supporting capacity in the development of appropriate technology, e.g. vaccine development.

 Communicable disease control: Supporting the improvement of surveillance, early warning and health laboratories for quality control and surveillance, as well as capacity building for communicable diseases is a critical part of WHO work. Polio eradication and Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance are the highest priority for WHO. There are also a number of other communicable diseases which form the body of work for WHO in Pakistan.

 Improving the health of women and children: WHO supports efforts to promote and assist in safe motherhood, and making pregnancy safer through family planning, child spacing, prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections. At the technical level, this includes strengthening the nutritional programme and provision of emergency obstetric care. The training of maternal health personal remains a priority. At the district level, WHO supports the referral system as part of the district essential health services package. Technical support to the expansion of the Child Survival programme is also provided.


Dr Michel Thieren – WHO Representative 

Dr. Michel Thieren, from Belgium, graduated MD in 1988 and tropical medicine in 1989. He began a field career in humanitarian action with Medecins Sans Frontieres in refugee camps in Thailand and as a humanitarian advisor in Central America with the Pan American Health Organization then engaged in the peace processes in El Salvador and Guatemala (1991-1993). He worked as a medical human rights observer with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Haiti during the military regime (1993 and 1995), and joined UNHCR as a Humanitarian Coordinator for the Rwandan refugee crisis in Zaire (1994). Dr. Thieren was Head of Field Office for Northern Bosnia for WHO/EURO (1995-1996), prior to taking an MPH at the Johns Hopkins University (1997).

After several years at WHO/HQ within the Departments of Humanitarian Action and of Epidemiology and Statistics, Dr. Thieren went back to country work as Senior Program Manager at the WHO Office in Cambodia (2008-2011), and as PAHO/WHO Representative in Bolivia. Guest editorialist for OpenDemocracy.net (2005-2009), he wrote on medical neutrality, bioethics, and humanitarian affairs. Dr Thieren was a board member of Medecins Sans Frontieres (1999-2000) and a member of the WHO Ethical Review Committee (2006-2008).