File image of union health minister Harsh Vardhan. Image credit: Hindustan Times
File image of union health minister Harsh Vardhan. Image credit: Hindustan Times

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is all set to take charge as the chairman of the WHO Executive Board on May 22, said officials on Tuesday.

Dr Vardhan will succeed Japan’s Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan as the chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board, reports said.

Dr Vardhan is at the forefront of India’s battle against deadly COVID19.

The proposal to appoint India’s nominee Vardhan to the Executive Board was signed by the 194-nation World Health Assembly on Tuesday, said officials on condition of anonymity.

The officials also said Vardhan would be elected at the Executive Board meeting of the WHO on May 22.

The WHO Executive Borad chairman’s post is held on rotation basis for one year.

According to reports, last year it was decided to select India’s nominee as the Executive Board chairman and Vardhan’s taking over the charge will be just a formality.

Last year, the South-East Asia group of WHO unanimously decided that India would be elected to the Executive Board for a three-year-term beginning May.

An official said the post is not a full-time assignment and the Union health minister will be required just to chair the Executive Board’s meetings.

The Executive Board of the WHO has 34 individuals who are technically qualified in the field of health, each one designated by a member state elected to do so by the World Health Assembly.

The member states are elected for three-year terms.

The Executive Board meets at least twice a year and the main meeting is normally held in January.

The second shorter meeting is held in May after the Health Assembly.

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