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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to chair as WHO Executive Board Chairman

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is set to chair as the Chairman of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board on May 22, officials said.

 

Vardhan would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board. The proposal to appoint India’s nominee to the executive board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly on Tuesday, officials said.

 

Vardhan taking over the post seems to be a formality after the decision that he will be India’s nominee as the WHO’s South-East Asia group had unanimously decided last year that India would be elected to the Executive Board for a three-year-term beginning May.

 

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.

 

Addressing the 73rd World Health Assembly via video conferencing on Monday, Vardhan said India took all the necessary steps well in time to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

He also asserted that the country has done well in dealing with the disease and is confident of doing better in the months to come.

 

India is set to take over the Chairmanship of the Executive Board amid growing calls, including by US President Donald Trump, to investigate how the coronavirus originated in China’s Wuhan city and subsequent action by Beijing.