Dr. Noor Isham
Former Director General of Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MY)

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham earned his medical degree from the prestigious University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1988, marking the beginning of his illustrious academic journey. Committed to furthering his expertise, he pursued a Master of Surgery at the same institution, honing his surgical skills. His commitment to excellence led him to become a Fellow in Breast and Endocrine Surgery at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (ANZES/RACS) in 1997, where he gained specialised expertise in these critical medical fields. He was the first ANZES/RACS fellow and the first Asian fellow at the University of Sydney Endocrine Surgery Unit.

Dr Noor Hisham has been conferred numerous local and international awards, including the prestigious Fellowship Ad Hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2018 for his contributions toward healthcare. For his unequivocal skills in operating complex thyroid surgery and surgery under local anaesthesia, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham was honoured to deliver the distinguished Martin Allgöwer Lecture at the 48th World Congress of Surgery in Krakow, Poland, in 2019. He is also a Councillor-at-Large (2017-2021) on the Executive Board of the International Society of Surgery (ISS) and currently chairs the Global Surgery Committee of ISS. In March 2020, he was elected the Chairman of the Asian Association of Endocrine Surgeons. He is also a member of the transitional High-Level Council for the Global Surgery Foundation based in Geneva.

Beyond clinical excellence, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Noor Hisham showed his leadership proficiency when he was appointed Deputy Director General of Health in 2008 and then as the Director General of Health six years later. Crowning accomplishment of his extensive education, he completed the Advanced Management Programme at Oxford Business School, United Kingdom, in 2008, demonstrating managerial acumen and public policymaking qualities beyond the realm of clinical expertise. In his exemplary leadership role in navigating the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Noor Hisham was conferred the Doctor of Public Health (Leadership) from UKM in 2021, showcasing his dedication to improving public health practices.

During his impressive ten-year tenure as the Director-general of Health, he chaired multiple medical professional councils and national-level technical committees. Currently, he is actively involved as a policymaker in global organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Due to his diplomatic expertise and deep understanding of geopolitical dimensions to manoeuvre intricate and complex global health emergency issues, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham is currently elected as the Chair of the World Health Organisation’s Standing Committee of Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (SCHEPPR) in Geneva since 2021.

His special interest lies in enhancing Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) to marginalised communities and bringing personalised healthcare back to the community and home through digital technology and creative innovation. Within the Western Pacific Region, he holds the office of the Technical Advisory Group on Universal Health Coverage. However, Tan Sri Noor Hisham’s illustrious contributions to enhancing UHC in marginalised communities lies in his instrumental leadership in the South-South collaboration with innovative solutions together with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to ensure improved accessibility and equity to the cure of Hepatitis C, leading the world’s effort to eliminate Hepatitis C by the year 2030.

His exemplary leadership is also recognised internationally, with the Government of Brazil awarding him the Grand Officer of the Brazil Order of Rio Branco. Aside from being one of the highest awards given by the Federative Republic of Brazil, it also recognises meritorious service and civic virtues, stimulating the practice of actions and deeds worthy of honourable mention. He was also the recipient of the 2020/1442 Maal Hijrah Figure Award for his contributions at national level.