Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research
UNICEF mourns death of Dr. Peter Salama
Statement by Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director
NEW YORK, 24 January 2020 – “The entire UNICEF family is deeply saddened by the sudden death of Dr. Peter Salama from a heart attack in Geneva.
“Pete was a tireless advocate for children, a committed humanitarian and a highly respected professional.
“He was an inspiring and caring leader across a number of roles within UNICEF, as Chief of Health and Nutrition in Afghanistan, as Representative in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan, as Global Chief of Health and HIV and as Global Ebola Coordinator in New York.
“Pete left UNICEF in 2016 to join the World Health Organization as Executive Director of its Health Emergencies Programme before becoming Executive Director of its Division of Universal Health Coverage – Life Course.
“All of us who had the privilege of working with Pete knew that he embodied the spirit of UNICEF like few others.
“Our most heartfelt condolences to his wife, his three children and all his friends and colleagues around the world. He will be sorely missed.”
24 January 2020 – Statement
The World Health Organization announces with deep sadness the sudden death of Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Division for Universal Health Coverage – Life Course.
The Organization extends its most profound sympathies and condolences to Dr Salama’s family, friends and colleagues. He was 51 and leaves behind his wife and three children.
“Pete embodied everything that is best about WHO and the United Nations – professionalism, commitment and compassion,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Our hearts are broken.”
Dr Salama, a medical epidemiologist from Australia, joined WHO in 2016 as Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies programme, which he led until 2019.
Before joining WHO, Dr Salama was Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at UNICEF, an organization that he joined in 2002.
Dr Salama led UNICEF’s global response to Ebola, served as its Representative in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe (2009–2015), Chief of Global Health and Principal Advisor on HIV/AIDS in New York (2004–2009), and Chief of Health and Nutrition in Afghanistan (2002–2004).
He had also worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and Concern Worldwide in several countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.