Dr Halfdan Mahler, WHO’s third Director-General, dies at 93
Prof Michael Kidd, WONCA Immediate Past President directs us to an announcment by the WHO that Dr Halfdan Mahler, the third WHO Director-General has died. Prof Kidd says "Dr Mahler often attended the World Health Assembly and was approachable and showed interest in the work of the current generation.
He is being hailed, I think appropriately, as a hero of global public health and primary health care
The announcement from the WHO website is reproduced below.
15 December 2016
WHO is saddened by the death of Dr Halfdan T. Mahler on 14 December 2016. Dr Mahler served as Director-General of WHO from 1973-1988.
As WHO's third Director-General, Dr Mahler will be remembered as a champion for primary care. He played a key leadership role shaping the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration that defined the Health for All by the Year 2000 strategy. Under his leadership, WHO and UNICEF jointly produced the report, Alternative Approaches to Meeting Basic Health Needs in Developing Countries, which examined successful primary health care in various countries.
Dr Mahler began his career at WHO in 1951 as senior officer for the National Tuberculosis Programme in India. Among his other roles in the Organization were Chief of the Tuberculosis Unit in Geneva, Director Project Systems Analysis and Assistant Director-General.
After retiring from WHO in 1988, Dr Mahler directed the International Planned Parenthood Federation until 1995. A frequent visitor to WHO, even after retirement, Dr Mahler maintained his close connection with staff, and cheered the Organization’s progress as it expanded its work in primary care. He will be deeply missed by the global health community.