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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sania Nishtar SI, FRCP Cardiologist, Federal Minister, Author, Health Science Writer


Sania Nishtar SI, FRCP is a Pakistani, Former Federal Minister of Education & Training, Science and Technology, Information Technology and Health, Physician cardiologist, author, health science writer, science administrator, thinker, peace builder, key health policy voice, prominent Pakistani woman, member of advisory groups and boards, Founder and President of NGO think tank Health Financing and Pakistan Health Policy Forum.
After several years as a Cardiologist at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Sania Nishtar founded Heartfile in 1999, which has grown from a health information-focused NGO to a health policy think tank, focused on health systems issues.

In 2007, she founded Heartfile Health Financing, a program to protect poor patients from medical impoverishment. The program is a 2008, 2012, and 2013 Commitment of the Clinton Global Initiative. She also founded Pakistan's Health Policy Forum, a civil society policy platform for health experts that has garnered contributions from prominent global health advocates including Seth Berkley, Sir George Alleyne, Mark Dybul, and Naresh Trehan, in addition to many others
Tenure as Minister
Sania Nishtar served as Federal Minister in the Government of Pakistan during the 2013 caretaker government as Minister for Science and Technology, Education and Trainings and Information Technology and Telcom. She also had responsibility as focal person for health. During her term, she was instrumental in establishing Pakistan's Ministry of Health, which she had been advocating for. At the conclusion of her term she published Handover Papers, voluntarily submitting herself for accountability, a gesture which garnered both national and international media attention. She also refused pay and perks and left an unusual gift for government functionaries. Her policies remained focused on promoting development; in the education sector linking academia with entrepreneurs, industry and the national priorities, and in the Ministry of IT by using the telecom sector for development. During her term in office as minister, she prevailed upon the Prime Minister to reverse the decision to dismantle the Prime Minister's Polio cell, and saved the government from what could have been an e-voting embarrassment.

Awards
Nishtar is the recipient of Pakistan's Sitara e-Imtiaz, a presidential award, the European Societies Population Science Award, and the First Global Innovation Award by the Rockefeller Foundation. She was admitted to the Medical Mission Hall of Fame in Toledo, Ohio in 2011.
In the beginning of 2014, she was mentioned in the Top-20 List of 'Most Influential Women in Science in the Islamic World' by the Muslim Scientists List in recognition of her policy advocacy contributions.