Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has been elected as the chairman of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Executive Board.
He will take over the charge on May 22, succeeding Dr. Hiroki Nakatani of
Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.
The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
The executive board is composed of 34 individuals technically qualified in the field of health, each one designated by a Member State elected to do so by the World Health Assembly.
Member States are elected for three-year terms. The Board meets at least twice a year; the main meeting is normally in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly.
The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it, and generally to facilitate its work, according to WHO.
The proposal to appoint India’s nominee to the executive board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly.
Last year, the WHO’s South-East Asia group had unanimously decided that India would be elected to the executive board for a three-year term beginning May. Therefore, Vardhan’s taking over the post seems to be a formality
The post of WHO’s executive board chairman is held by rotation for one year among regional groups and it was decided last the year that India’s nominee would assume the post.
It is not a full-time assignment and the minister will just be required to chair the Board’s meetings, officials said.