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Harsh Vardhan will be appointed as WHO Executive Board Chairman on May 22

On Tuesday, officials stated that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is at the forefront of India’s battle against coronavirus pandemic, is set to take charge as the chairman of the WHO Executive Board on May 22.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.

On condition of anonymity, officials stated 194-nation World Health Assembly signed the proposal to appoint India’s nominee to the executive board on Tuesday.

The chairman’s post is held by rotation for a year amongst regional groups.

Notably, the chairman’s post is not a full-time assignment and Harsh Vardhan will only chair the Executive Board’s meetings. In the executive board, the 34 members are highly qualified individuals in the arena of health, each one designated by a Member State elected to do so by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected for three-year terms.

The Board meets at least twice in a year – once oftenly in January and then in May.

The Executive Board’s key function is to “give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to recommend it and generally to facilitate its work”.

The health minister, who has been at the frontline in India’s combat against novel coronavirus, addressed the 73rd World Health Assembly via video conferencing on May 18 and stated that all the crucial steps were taken by India in advance into bridle the transmission of coronavirus in the country.

India is on course to take charge of the chairmanship of the Executive Board of WHO at a time when US President Donald Trump is persistently calling for the probe to dig out how COVID-19 stemmed in China’s Wuhan city and the measures taken by Beijing to curb its transmission to other nations.

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