Former Health DG honoured by Brazil for tireless work during pandemic

Quintella conferring the Order of Rio Branco on Dr Noor Hisham during the ceremony.

BRAZIL has conferred its highest honorific order to former Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah for his contributions to and illustrious career in public health.

In conferring the Order of Rio Branco, Brazil’s Ambassador to Malaysia Ary Norton de Murat Quintella paid tribute to Dr Noor Hisham, saying he held the post of DG during what was probably the most impactful epidemic to hit humanity since the Spanish Flu of 1918 – the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The emergence of this new and deadly virus in 2020 highlighted the most valuable characteristics, as well as the most flawed ones, of men, women, societies and governments.

“Here in Malaysia and all over the world, the Covid-19 pandemic put a limelight on the dedication and resilience of frontline health workers.

“This tireless community made countless sacrifices again and again to protect fellow men and women against a then unknown and unpredictable disease,” he said in his remarks.

Quintella said he believed he spoke for the entire diplomatic community in commending the dedication of Malaysia’s Health Ministry in making everyone, including foreigners, in Malaysia, feel safe during the pandemic.

“The bestowing of the Order of Rio Branco is also a recognition to efforts of the government of Malaysia to promote access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and medical products for all,” he added.

In his address, Dr Noor Hisham, who retired in April this year after a career spanning 35 years, said more could be achieved in healthcare if countries worked together.

“It is with great humility and gratitude that I accept this prestigious award from the Brazilian government,” he said.

“I am deeply humbled and honoured by this recognition.

“This award is significant and serves as a reminder of the importance of international collaboration in the fight against public health threats and the importance of collective preparedness and response.”

Witnessing the ceremony held at the ambassador’s residence in Kuala Lumpur were several heads of foreign mission and government officials.

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