Dr. Sania Nishtar

President & Founder, Heartfile

Sania Nishtar graduated from medical school in 1986 as the best graduate with 16 gold medals, a college record, which remains unbroken to date. In 1999 she left a lucrative career as Pakistan’s first woman cardiologist to establish the NGO think-tank, Heartfile which today is the most powerful health policy voice and catalyst for health reform in Pakistan and is recognized as a model for replication in other developing countries.

She is the founder of many other health institutions, Pakistan’s Health Policy Forum and Heartfile Financing, a program to protect people against health impoverishment. In 2013 she served as a Federal Minister in Pakistan’s Interim Government, where she held four portfolios, including Education and Trainings, Science and Technology, Information Technology and Telcom, and Health.

Sania Nishtar’s has in-country and international experience. Internationally, she is a member of many Expert Working Groups and Task Forces of the World Health Organisation, a member of the board of the International Union for Health Promotion, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. She is Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council and a member of the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health, the Clinton Global Initiative and is Chair of GAVI’s Evaluation Advisory Committee. She also led the Pakistan Lancet Series on Health Reform. She has previously headed many global initiatives, including the award winning Global World Heart Day campaign. She is a regular plenary speaker, chair or moderator at global health meetings and a part of organizing major international conferences. She has chaired or been part of many international declarations and statements of the World Health Organization.

Sania Nishtar is a key health policy voice in Pakistan, the author of Pakistan’s first health reform plan, Pakistan’s first compendium of health statistics, and the country’s first national public health plan for NCDs. One of her books, an analysis of Pakistan’s health systems became the blue print for the country’s health policy. She is a member of many boards, advisory groups and task forces and a voice to catalyze change at the broader governance level in Pakistan.

Sania Nishtar is the author of 6 books, more than 100 peer review articles and around the same number of op-eds. Her latest, Choked Pipes, was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. She is the recipient of Pakistan’s Sitara e-Imtiaz, a presidential award, the European Societies Population Science Award, and many accolades of the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge and the American Biographical Center. In 2011 she received the prestigious Global Innovation award, which was given only to four individuals in the world, one of them being President Bill Clinton. Sania Nishtar holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and a Ph.D from Kings College, London.