Harsh Vardhan takes cost as WHO Executive Board chairman, requires shared response to struggle COVID-19


New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan took cost because the chairman of the WHO Executive Board on Friday and asserted {that a} worldwide disaster just like the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the necessity for strengthening international partnerships to re-energise funding in international public well being.

Vardhan’s elevation to the chairmanship of the 34-member World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board comes amid rising calls, together with by US President Donald Trump, to analyze how coronavirus originated in China’s Wuhan metropolis and subsequent motion by Beijing.

Tensions are working excessive throughout the UN well being physique after Trump warned WHO that he would rethink America’s membership and “permanently freeze” the physique’s funding if it doesn’t display its “independence” from China within the subsequent 30 days.

Vardhan, who succeeded Dr Hiroki Nakatani from Japan, paid tribute to the lakhs of people that have misplaced their lives as a result of international COVID-19 pandemic and in addition requested all dignitaries current on the event to offer a standing ovation to all of the frontline well being staff and different “COVID warriors by saluting their dignity, determination and dedication”.

Vardhan was elected because the Chair of the Executive Board of World Health Organization for the 12 months 2020-21 in the course of the 147th session of the board in a gathering that was held nearly. The proposal to nominate India’s nominee to the manager board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly on Tuesday.

At the 72nd Regional Committee Session of WHO South-East Asia in September 2019, member states had nominated India to be member of the WHO Executive Board from the Region to exchange Sri Lanka whose time period expired in May 2020 and in addition to guide 147th and 148th Sessions of the Executive Board as Chairperson.

Congratulating Vardhan, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh, mentioned, “Dr Harsh Vardhan has assumed this post at a very challenging time. I wish him all the best in steering the executive board as it addresses this defining pandemic and other public health issues.”

“Dr Vardhan has a rich experience in public health. He is the pioneer of India’s successful pulse polio programme and has been in the forefront in the fight against tobacco and many other issues. The world can now gain from his expertise and experience,” she mentioned.

The different international locations from WHO South-East Asia Region within the Executive Board are Bangladesh (2019-2022) and Indonesia (2018-2021). “I feel deeply honoured to have the trust and faith of all of you. India and all my countrymen, too, feel privileged that this honour has been bestowed upon us,” Vardhan mentioned after assuming the cost.

Noting that COVID-19 is a superb human tragedy and the subsequent 20 years might even see many such challenges, he mentioned, “All these challenges demand a shared responsibility, as these are shared threats requiring a shared responsibility to act.” “While this is the core philosophy of our alliance of member nations that comprise WHO, however, it needs a greater degree of shared idealism of nations.”

“The pandemic has made humanity acutely aware of the consequences of ignoring the strengthening and preparedness of our healthcare systems. In such times of global crisis, risk management and mitigation would require further strengthening of global partnerships to re-energize interest and investment in global public health,” Vardhan mentioned.

Sharing India’s expertise in combating COVID-19, he mentioned the nation has solely three per cent mortality fee and with 1.35 billion individuals, there are solely 0.1 million COVID-19 circumstances. “The recovery rate is above 40 per cent and the doubling rate is 13 days.”

As the brand new Chair of the WHO Executive Board, Vardhan underlined the necessity for larger commitments in respect of illnesses which have plagued humankind for hundreds of years, collaborations for supplementing one another by pooling in international assets, an aggressive roadmap to curtail deaths from illnesses that may be eradicated, a recent roadmap to deal with international shortages of medicines and vaccines, and the necessity for reforms.

“I’m sure that constant engagement with member states and other stakeholders will reinforce reforms and help accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable development goals and universal health coverage with the most productive, efficient and targeted utilization of resources,” he mentioned.

“I will put myself to work to realise the collective vision of our organisation, to build the collective capacity of all our member nations and also build a heroic collective leadership.”

Reminiscing his long-standing association with WHO, Vardhan expressed his gratitude for WHO’s sturdy assist in India’s struggle in opposition to Polio.

At the Executive Board assembly in May 2021, he’ll hand over to the subsequent Chair from one other WHO Region. However, he’ll proceed to be a member of the Executive Board until 2023.

Vardhan has additionally been a member of a number of prestigious WHO committees like Strategic Advisory Group of Experts and the Global Technical Consultative Group on Polio Eradication. He has additionally served as an advisor to WHO.

The Executive Board contains 34 people, technically certified within the discipline of well being, every one designated by a member-state elected to take action by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected for three-year phrases.

The major capabilities of the manager board are to offer impact to the choices and insurance policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and usually to facilitate its work.