[Ip-health] In Memoriam: Fernando S. Antezana Araníbar

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Mar 23 04:18:16 PDT 2016

I am posting this on behalf of Dr. Germán Velásquez (who wrote the text


Fernando S. Antezana Araníbar sadly passed away on Saturday 19 March 2016.
Born in Cochabamba, Bolivia, he dedicated a large part of his life to
public health and the cause of developing countries. He was one of the
founders and advocates of the essential drugs concept initiated by the
former Director-General of the World Health Organization,  Halfdan Mahler,
who invited him to work in the Medicines Division of WHO around the time of
the Alma Ata Conference on primary health care.

He joined WHO in 1976 and held various positions in the Organization,
including that of WHO Representative in Guatemala, Director of the Action
Programme on Essential Drugs, Assistant Director-General and then Deputy
Director-General before his retirement from the Organization in 1998.
During this period, he was a key player in WHO’s efforts to improve access
to medicines and promote the essential medicines concept.  His commitment
to public health did not stop upon his retirement and he subsequently
became Minister of Health and Sports of Bolivia from 2003 to 2005 and also
Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization in 2006.

Dr Antezana held several academic appointments, including a Doctorate
honoris causa from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the
Universidad Del Valle in Colombia. He was also honoured with the Grand
Cross by King Juan Carlos I of Spain and the Papal Order of Saint Gregory
the Great.

He will be remembered as a very kind, humble, honest and softly spoken man
who worked tirelessly to promote access to medicines as an fundamental
human right.


Germán Velásquez

Special Adviser for Health and Development

South Centre

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