Union Health Minister to take charge as WHO Executive Board Chairman: Report

by International | 20-05-2020 | 522 views

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is set to become the chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board on May 22, officials said on Tuesday (May 19). Harsh Vardhan, who is at the forefront of India's fight against coronavirus COVID-19, would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan.

According to reports, the proposal to appoint a nominee from India as the new head of the WHO Executive Board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly on Tuesday.

Notably, Harsh Vardhan's taking over the crucial post is nothing moe than a formality as it was decided in 2019 that India's nominee would be elected to the executive board for a three-year-term in May 2020. The post of WHO Executive Board chairman is held by rotation for one year among regional groups.

It is to be noted that the chariman's post is not a full time assignment and Harsh Vardhan will only chair the Executive Board's meetings. The 34 members in the executive board are highly qualified individuals in the field of health. Each member of the executive board is is designated by a member state elected to do so by the World Health Assembly.

The election of the member states is for three years and the Board meets at least twice a year. The Executive Board finalises the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and helps in facilitating its work.

Harsh Vardhan addressed the 73rd World Health Assembly via video conferencing on Monday (May 18) and said that all the necessary steps were taken by India in advance in to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

India is on course to take charge of the chairmanship of the Executive Board at a time when US President Donald Trump is repeatedly calling for probe to find out how the coronavirus originated in China's Wuhan city and the steps taken by Beijing to check its spread to other countries.

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