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Dr. Sania Nishtar

Dr. Sania Nishtar




Dr. Sania Nishtar, born on February 16, 1963, in Peshawar, Pakistan, is a distinguished cardiologist, author, and health policy advocate. She graduated as the best student of her year from Khyber Medical College in 1986, earning her medical and surgical degrees. Dr. Nishtar furthered her education with a Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and a Ph.D. from King's College London, where she was later awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science in 2019.

Her medical career began as a cardiologist at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. In 1999, she founded Heartfile, initially a health information-focused NGO, which evolved into a leading health policy think tank. Heartfile Health Financing, launched in 2007, is one of her notable initiatives aimed at protecting impoverished patients from medical expenses, receiving support from the Clinton Global Initiative multiple times.

In addition to her medical and NGO work, Dr. Nishtar has held significant governmental roles. In 2013, she served as the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Technology, and Information Technology and Telecommunications in Pakistan’s interim government. In 2019, she was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, overseeing the Ehsaas Program, which encompasses over 130 initiatives to alleviate poverty and enhance social safety nets.

Dr. Nishtar has also been an influential figure on the global stage. She was Pakistan's candidate to succeed António Guterres as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2015 and Margaret Chan as Director-General of the World Health Organization in 2017. Her global contributions to health and social welfare have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, one of Pakistan's highest civilian honors, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Global Innovation Award.

Her prolific writing includes six books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Nishtar has been listed among the BBC's 100 Women in 2020, reflecting her impact and influence in global health and policy.


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Place of Birth: Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan



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Date of Birth: February 16, 1963

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