About WHO

Professor Walid Ammar

Director-General of Health, Lebanon


Professor Walid Ammar has been the Director General of the Ministry of Public Health of Lebanon since 1993.

Under his leadership, reform efforts led to significant improvement in health indicators while decreasing the gross domestic product share of health expenditures, mostly as a result of a meaningful reduction in households’ out-of-pocket spending. Prof Ammar established the Primary Health Care Network in Lebanon and developed the National Nursing Training Program in 1997 to face the chronic shortage of nurses.

He introduced the Hospital Accreditation Program in 1999 and lobbied for the public hospitals’ autonomy law that had a remarkable impact on public hospitals’ performance when issued in 1996. Reform achievements are referred to in the World Health Report 2010.

Prof Ammar is Professor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Lebanese University, and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut. He is chairing several national committees, including the National Committee for Accreditation of Hospitals, the Technical Committee for Drug Registration and the National Palliative Care Committee.

Prof Ammar directed the Health Sector Rehabilitation Project financed by the World Bank (1996–1998). In 2011 he was appointed as a commissioner in the UN Commission on Information & Accountability for Women & Children’s Health. He chaired Committee A of the 64th World Health Assembly and was a member of many WHO committees, such as the Expert Committee on Health Systems Performance Assessment (1999–2000), and the Scientific Peer Review Group (2001–2003).

He has many publications, including two published books: Health System And Reform in Lebanon (2003), Health Beyond Politics (2009).

Prof Ammar served as a member of the Executive Board at WHO (2012–2015), was elected rapporteur in 2012 and vice chair of the Executive Board in 2014.

He has contributed to the WHO ongoing reform in emergencies and outbreaks as a member of the WHO Advisory Group on Reform of WHO’s Work in Outbreaks and Emergencies with Health and Humanitarian Consequences from July 2015 to January 2016.