Anders Nordström, Sweden’s Ambassador for Global Health, has been appointed as the WHO country representative to Sierra Leone. The position of country representative means that Mr Nordström will be responsible for leading the WHO’s work in the country. The Mission met with Mr Nordström for a short interview in connection with the appointment.
What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge you face in your new position, both in the short term in work with the ongoing Ebola outbreak and in the longer term?
“The greatest and most important challenge is to ensure that the outbreak of Ebola is completely stopped – ‘getting to zero’. At the same time, we must work to ensure that other health and medical care functions efficiently and is safe for staff and patients.”
You worked in Sierra Leone in 1987 via the Red Cross. How would you describe the differences in the country’s health system then and now?
“I didn’t work in Sierra Leone then, but I was involved in initiating a project on child survival, with focus on diarrhoeal diseases. I visited the country on several different occasions but since then, the country has unfortunately been affected by civil war and now an extensive Ebola outbreak. This means that the health situation is still cause of great concern, with the world’s highest rate of maternal mortality and extensive problems with malaria and malnutrition.”
What, primarily, do you bring with you from your role as Ambassador for Global Health?
“I bring knowledge of what different health actors do and what opportunities are available to Sierra Leone. And I bring clear promises from everyone to work in a more coordinated and effective manner. I look forward to ‘walk the talk’.”
Permanent Mission of Sweden in Geneva