DR HARSH VARDHAN takes charge as head of W.H.O’s Executive Board

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DELHI born  Dr. Harsh Vardhan, 65, has taken charge as Chairman of the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board at its 147th session held virtually.’’ I believe that health is central to economic performance and to enhancing human capabilities, ’he says as the world is fighting dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. India’s incumbent  Union Minister for  Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences now heads the 34-member Executive Board of the  W.H. O.  which is represented by 194 nations, all members of the New York-headquartered United Nations  Organization. His election was stated to be a procedural formality. The development comes after WHO’s South-East Asia group had unanimously decided last year that New Delhi would be elected to the Executive Board for three years beginning Friday, May 22, with its nominee being appointed as the Chairman for the first year. India on May 19 was elected by the 73rd World Health Assembly to the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation for a period of three years. Nine other nations have also been elected to the Executive Board. Soft-spoken and publicity-shy, Dr. Harsh Vardhan,  medics by training and a resident of  Delhi,  is at the forefront of India’s battle against COVID-19. He succeeds Dr. Hiroki Nakatani of Japan as the Chairman of the  WHO Executive Board. As India was elected to the Executive Board, the country nominated Dr, Harsh Vardhan as the chairman. The proposal was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly. After the end of his one-year tenure as WHA chairman, Dr. Vardhan will remain a member of the Assembly for two more years and will also have a say in shortlisting the next WHO director-general and work directly with him.  WHO ‘s incumbent director-general is former Minister of Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom. His five-year-tenure ends in May 2021.

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