Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India, as the Chairman of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, is expected to provide the decisive direction, in combating the Covid pandemic. WHO is already providing leadership to the entire world in the sphere of public health, engaging with partners for joint actions, shaping the research agenda and stimulating the dissemination of valuable knowledge. “The need is to catalyze further change,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Chair-elect of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board.
Health is central to enhancing human capabilities. Protecting the health of those without wealth should be the core philosophy of our close alliance at the WHO, Dr Harsh Vardhan said. Dr Harsh Vardhan has a rich experience in public health. He is the pioneer of India’s successful pulse polio program and has been at the forefront in the fight against tobacco and many other issues. The world can now gain from his expertise and experience. This move has also reiterated that Indians in the world stage have carved a niche for themselves. He has been elected to this post at a very challenging time. He would be using all his experience along with a team, the best in the world, to steer the Executive Board as it addresses this defining pandemic and other public health issues.
WHO ’s Executive Board comprises of 34 members elected for three-year terms. Its members elect the Chairperson of the Executive Board on being nominated by the Regional Committees of the six WHO Regions, by rotation. At the 72nd Regional Committee Session of WHO South-East Asia in September 2019, Member States had nominated India to be a member of the WHO Executive Board from the Region to replace Sri Lanka whose term expired in May 2020 and also to lead 147th and 148th Sessions of the Executive Board as Chairperson. The other countries from the 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.