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Indian health minister to head WHO Exec Board

New Delhi: India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is all set to be the chairman of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board.

Dr Vardhan, an acclaimed ENT surgeon, presently leads the national effort against COVID-19 pandemic. He will be replacing Dr H Nakatani who is the advisor for international affairs to Japan’s Minister of Health.

As the Chairman of the 34-member Executive Board of the WHO, Dr Vardhan, who takes charge on May 22, will closely work with the incumbent director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He will be mandated to ensure the implementation of the decisions taken by the World Health Assembly, the decision making body of the WHO.

In fact, the proposal to appoint India’s nominee to the executive board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly.

While it has not been a sudden decision since last year itself WHO’s South East Asia group had decided that India would be elected to the Executive Board for three years from 2020, the timing is extremely crucial.

The development comes at a time when the credibility of the World Health Organization (WHO) has sunk to an all time low with US President Donald Trump threatening to permanently halt funding for WHO if it fails to commit to “substantive improvements” within 30 days.

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