Indian Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was elected the chair of World Health Organization’s Executive Board replacing Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan on Friday.
Dr Vardhan will chair the 148th session of the Executive Board in January 2021. At the Executive Board meeting in May 2021, he will hand over to the next Chair from another WHO Region.
However, Dr Vardhan will continue to be a member of the Executive Board till 2023.
Congratulating Dr Vardhan, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said, “Dr Harsh Vardhan has assumed this post at a very challenging time. I wish him all the best in steering the Executive Board as it addresses this defining pandemic and other public health issues”.
“He has a rich experience in public health. He is the pioneer of India’s successful pulse polio program and has been in the forefront in the fight against tobacco and many other issues. The world can now gain from his expertise and experience,” the Regional Director said.
The other countries from WHO South-East Asia Region in the Executive Board are Bangladesh (2019-2022) and Indonesia (2018-2021).
The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and advise and facilitate its work.