Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan assumed the chair of the Executive Board of World Health Organization for the year 2020-21. He replaces Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan.
He took over as the chairman during the 147th session of the Executive Board, in a meeting that was virtually held.
Accepting the post, Harsh Vardhan said that he was deeply honoured to have the trust and faith of every one. Stating that world was going through a great tragedy, he said that the next two decades may see many such challenges. All these challenges demand a shared response because these are shared threats requiring a shared responsibility to act,” he said. “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,” He said.
Mentioning that the corona pandemic has made humanity aware of the consequences of ignoring the strengthening and preparedness of healthcare systems, the Union Minister said both risk management and mitigation would require further strengthening of global partnerships to re-energize interest and investment in global public health.
In the meeting, he also shared the country’s experience of combating coronavirus. He said that the country had a mortality of only 3 per cent and the recovery rate was above 40 per cent and the doubling rate was 13 days.
As the new Chairman, Vardhan underlined the need for higher commitments in respect of diseases that have plagued humankind for centuries, collaborations for supplementing each other by pooling of global resources, an aggressive roadmap to curtail deaths from diseases that can be eliminated, a fresh roadmap to address global shortages of medicines and vaccines and the need for reforms.
Vardhan also said that he believed that the future health scenario of the world was central to economic performance and aimed at enhancing human capabilities. However, he mentioned that public health policy must be based and guided on a proper understanding of nature. “This is also the underlying principle of the Indian traditional systems of medicine based on holistic health and wellness, which I have lived and experienced,” he said.
The WHO Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year term. The Board implements the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, and advice and facilitate its work.