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After 21 years in WHO, Douglas Bettcher will retire as Director of the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases of the World Health Organization. Under his strategic leadership, WHO supports the delivery of the global noncommunicable diseases agenda in line with the UN political declaration of the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of noncommunicable Diseases and reduction of the major risk factors for NCDs, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets.

He also leads WHO’s global programmes on health promotion and the surveillance. Prior to this position, he spearheaded the work the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It was also through his innovative approaches that the WHO took new direction working outside its comfort zone with the Ministries of Finance on Tobacco taxation. WHO was able to accelerate its work on surveillance, tobacco industry interference and the mCessation programme through the MPOWER measures. His concerted efforts also extended to the call for action through the Walk the Talk campaign as part of Global Physical Activity campaign and of course, not to forget the digital health on NCDs through Be Healthy, Be Mobile initiative.


As a leader, as a colleague and as a friend, Douglas is someone who will stand by you come rain or shine. And with all his achievements, that’s what exactly sets him apart from the rest. Congratulations on your successful career and we will Doug well as him embarks into a new journey.

Douglas Bettcher, MD, MPH, PhD

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