Award of the Dr A.T. Shousha Foundation Prize and Fellowship
Following the recommendations of the Dr A.T. Shousha Foundation Committee at the Sixty-second Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, the Executive Board awarded the Dr A.T. Shousha Foundation Prize for 2016, by decision EB138(5), to Dr Walid Ammar (Lebanon) for his significant contribution to public health in the geographical area in which Dr Shousha served WHO.
Dr Walid Ammar is being honoured for his significant contribution to public health in Lebanon, in particular in the areas of primary health care and health policy, and for his efforts in translating research and evidence into policy, programmes and practice and his efforts to voice the interests of the Region in all WHO forums. Dr Ammar graduated from the medical college of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, in 1982, and received a master’s degree in public health and a diplôme d’études approfondies from the Lebanese University in 1996. In 2001, he was awarded a PhD in epidemiology from the Université Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France (Université Bordeaux II).
Since 1993, Dr Ammar has been Director-General of the Ministry of Public Health of Lebanon, bringing together a range of stakeholders to chart a vision for the welfare, rights and health care in an open network model of governance. Among other achievements, Dr Ammar set up Lebanon’s primary health care network in 1994 and initiated the first national hospital accreditation system in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and was instrumental in strengthening and developing the Lebanese health care system. In a time of political instability and under his leadership, reforms led to significant improvement in health indicators while decreasing the GDP share of health expenditures, mostly as a result of meaningful reduction in household out-of-pocket spending.
Dr Ammar is a model for public health professionals, having served not only in government and in the academic community but also in numerous national, regional and international organizations, boards and councils. Dr Ammar has produced numerous publications in the areas of health systems, health reform and good governance. His work as a researcher has led to the development of major studies which have been pivotal in reforming the health care system of Lebanon.