Dr. David Tejada de Rivero

Public Health Heroes
David Tejada de Rivero
Dr. David Tejada de Rivero

Dr. David Tejada de Rivero of Peru (1929—2018) served in important positions in Peru and at the international level during his professional career.  Between 1974 and 1985, Dr. Tejada de Rivero served as Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), in Geneva, Switzerland. During that period, Dr. Tejada de Rivero held the general coordinator position for the International Conference on Primary Health Care of Alma-Ata (now Almaty), Kazakhstan, convened on 6 September 1978. The Conference drew 3,000 delegates from 134 countries and 67 representatives of international organizations from around the world. It was organized by WHO and UNICEF, and attracted worldwide attention, resulting in the Declaration of Alma-Ata, which identified primary health care as the key to attaining improved health worldwide. 

Dr. Tejada de Rivero worked tirelessly to achieve the implementation of the Alma-Ata Declaration's primary health care strategy throughout the world. 

He oversaw negotiations for obtaining financing aimed at health projects to confront and combat diseases and epidemics in the five continents' most vulnerable countries. He worked for a better mechanism of government-provided primary care to strengthen local and national health systems. During his tenure at WHO, important agreements were signed with international organizations for carrying out nutritional, respiratory-disease-prevention, and diarrhea-prevention programs. 

On his return to Peru, Dr. Tejada de Rivero served two terms as Minister of Health, one in 1985 and a second term in 1989. During his tenure, Peru received important donations through international technical and financial cooperation to improve primary care in Peru's health systems. In 1992 he was the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization representative in Brasília, Brazil. 

Dr. David Tejada de Rivero graduated as a surgeon from the Medical School of the University of San Marcos in 1957. He obtained a master's degree in public health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He carried out educational activities and gave lectures related to primary care in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Thailand, among a long list of countries. 

During his professional career he received important awards and decorations. In 2008 he was decorated by the Government of Kazakhstan, as it commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata, for his excellent work. 

The Pan American Health Organization awarded the Hero of Public Health Award to this outstanding Peruvian physician on 2 March 2012 in Lima, Peru, for his global contributions to the development of advancing Primary Health Care. 

Dr. David Tejada de Rivero died on 3 November 2018 in Lima, Peru at age 89

Interview of Dr. David Tejada de Rivero (in Spanish)