PM Mottley presented with WHO award for exceptional leadership in health

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Source-Barbados Today: Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday presented Prime Minister Mia Mottley with the Director-General’s Award for Global Health.

Mottley is one of three people being awarded this year.

The awards are usually presented during the WHO’s most important meeting of the year — the World Health Assembly, which is being held on Monday. However, Mottley was presented with the award at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday to allow her to travel to Antigua and Barbuda for the United Nations fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4), which begins on Monday.

Back in 2019, the WHO Director-General gave Global Health Leaders Awards to a number of individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to public health goals. The awards are now presented on an annual basis to selected individuals or groups of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to achieve tangible health impacts.

In her acceptance speech, Mottley thanked the WHO Director-General for being there and for steadfastly supporting small countries.

“[The] COVID pandemic for us was the wild wild west in every sense of the word. When we could access goods, we learned that export restrictions would be put on them. When we could access vaccines, export restrictions were also put on them. When we could pay, we couldn’t get orders because our orders were simply too small to be taken, whether for equipment or medicines,” Mottley said.

Both the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization stood up for the region, Mottley said, while also paying tribute to PAHO’s Director Emeritus Dr Carissa F Etienne who died last year.

“You were the two people who were directly accessible at midnight … and that speaks volumes to the difference you made in saving lives — I dare say hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives across the Small Island Developing States,” Mottley said.

“I thank you on behalf of my country for the honour which you are conferring on me. I take it not as my own, I take it as an honour to Barbados.”

Mottely also saluted the island’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, “who was on the front-lines, but I also want to salute my Ministers of Health, Lt Col Jeffrey Bostick and Senior Minister Jerome Walcot, who effectively carried and continue to carry the day-to-day battle in this critical area of health.”

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