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Prof Sania Nishtar recognized with WHF Advocacy Award in Cardiovascular Health

01 Aug 2020

WHF is thrilled to present the WHF Advocacy Award in Cardiovascular Health to Pakistani physician, cardiologist, author and activist Prof Sania Nishtar. Prof Nishtar is the current Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, with the status of Federal Minister, and BISP Chairperson. Previously she served in the Interim Federal Cabinet in 2013 overseeing public health, education and science.

Nishtar co-chaired WHO’s High-Level Commission on Non-communicable diseases along with the Presidents of Uruguay, Finland and Sri Lanka. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the future of healthcare and co-chairs the U.S National Academy of Sciences Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in low and middle-income countries. In addition, she also chairs the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s International Advisory Board and a member of the International Advisory Board on Global Health of the German Federal Government.

Born in Peshawar, Nishtar went to medical school at Khyber Medical College and graduated top of her class in 1986. She was inducted into the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Pakistan in 1991 after completing her residency at Khyber Teaching Hospital. She joined the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences as a cardiologist in 1994 and worked with the institute until 2007. She left the institute on sabbatical twice, first in 1996 to at the Guy’s Hospital in London, and again in 1999 to pursue her Ph.D in Medicine from the King’s College London, which she received in 2002. She became a fellow of Royal College of Physicians in 2005. In 2019, Kings College London awarded her a Doctorate in Science, Honoris Causa.

In 1998, Nishtar founded Heartfile, an Islamabad-based health policy think tank.Since 2014, Nishtar has been a Co-Chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity and also serves on the board of United Nations University’s Institute for Global Health. Nishtar was a leading candidate for Director-General of the World Health Organization, to be elected in May 2017. She was amongst the shortlisted three nominees in the election held in January 2017, but was not successful in the final election held on 23 May 2017.

Dr. Sania Nishtar is the granddaughter of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, a leading figure in the Pakistan movement.

The World Heart Awards are all about celebrating new ideas and recognising the talents and achievements of those working to combat cardiovascular disease around the world. To see the 2020 awardees, click here.