The IMC on the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, has extended its warmest congratulations to Dr Nono Simelela on her appointment as WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents.

Dr Princess Nothemba (Nono) Simelela has since 2014 served as Special Adviser to Deputy President Ramaphosa, with her work ranging from support for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections to reviewing the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Her appointment to the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and her contribution to health and broader social policy in South Africa was acknowledged by government during a meeting on Thursday, 19 October 2017, of the SANAC IMC, which comprises 16 departments and the leadership of SANAC. Dr Simelela assumes her new position on 13 November 2017.

Deputy President Ramaphosa and the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, commended Dr Simelela and wished her well in her new global role under the leadership of WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African in 69 years to be appointed head of the global health authority.

Dr Simelela has more than 30 years of experience as an obstetrician, academic, advocate and public servant.

Her other senior leadership roles in South Africa have included serving as Chief Executive Officer of SANAC, Director of Technical Knowledge and Support for the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Cluster Manager for HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections for the Department of Health.

She has also sat on a number of committees and boards, including the Executive Board of the WHO and the WHO technical committee for the development of guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The new WHO leadership team represents 14 countries, including all WHO regions, and women constitute more than 60% of this team.