Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is at the forefront of India's battle against coronavirus, took charge as the chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board on Friday. Harsh Vardhan would succeed Dr. Hiroki Nakatani from Japan.
The proposal to appoint India's nominee to the executive board was signed by 194-nation World Health Assembly on Tuesday. As per the report, WHO's South-East Asia group, last year, had unanimously decided to elect India's nominee to the executive board for a 3-year term beginning May.
The chairman's post is held by the rotation for one year among the regional groups. it was decided last year that India's nominee would be the Executive Board chairman for the first year starting Friday.
It is not a full-time assignment and the minister will be required to chair the Executive Board's meetings, an official said. The Executive Board is comprised 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.
The main functions of the executive board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly. Also, the main function includes to advise and generally to facilitate its work.
While addressing the 73rd World Health Assembly via video-conferencing on Monday, Harsh Vardhan had said that India has taken all the necessary steps well in time to combat the coronavirus pandemic.