MNA Editorial Desk: Saima Wazed named as innovative women leader in global mental health Saima Wazed Hossain has been named among the 100 ‘Innovative Women Leaders in Global Mental Health’ by ‘Five on Friday’ publication blog of Columbia University’s Global Mental Health Programmes.
The list of the ‘Five on Friday’ contains women leaders who are individually and collectively improving “our understanding, prevention, and treatment of mental illness”.
The daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Saima, known by her nickname Putul in Bangladesh, is the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh, and also Shuchona Foundation that works on mental health issues.
She is also a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Mental health, reports bdnews24.com.
She brought the neglected issue to the fore by organising the first-ever regional conference in Dhaka in 2011 where regional leaders, including India’s then ruling Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi, participated.
As a result of her efforts, the Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Trust Act 2013 has been passed. The United Nations adopted several resolutions based on her proposals.
WHO also bestowed the ‘Excellence in Public Health Award’ upon her in September 2014, noting that she had put autism on WHO’s map.
She is also the WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the South East Asia Region for her innovative work as a spokesperson for individuals with autism in Bangladesh.
A graduate of Barry University in Florida, Saima is a specialist in school psychology, a nationally certified field of study in the United States.
She is also one of the trustees of Centre for Research and Information (CRI), the ruling Awami League’s research wing.
The Global Mental Health Programs Consortium said the 100 names on its list appear in alphabetical order rather than in terms of ranking.
“But by highlighting these 100 women, I hope to illustrate that innovation is not owned by one gender–not in mental health, not in business, not anywhere.”