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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan To Take Charge As Next WHO Executive Board Chairman

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as the chairman of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board on May 22 for a year

Harsh Vardhan

After the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) meet that took place on Tuesday via video conferencing, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as the chairman of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board on May 22. The executive board which is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms, will hold a meeting on May 22.

India was among 10 nations that were elected by the 73rd World Health Assembly to the Executive Board of the WHO for a period of three years. The other new members include Botswana, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Oman, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

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One of the primary functions of the Board is to implement the decisions and policies of the WHA and facilitate its work. The chairman of the board is selected on a rotational basis for one year among regional groups, whereas the WHA is the decision making body of the WHO.

While expressing condolences on the lives lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expressing gratitude to the COVID warriors who are at the forefront of the battle, the Union Minister also spoke about India's response to the deadly virus by elaborating on how the Indian government on a war footing implemented proactive measures against the virus.

"We, in India, undertook the COVID-19 challenge with the highest level of political commitment. Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, personally monitored the situation and ensured a pre-emptive, pro-active and graded response, leaving no stones unturned to contain the deadly virus from spreading," Harsh Vardhan had said.

The minister while stressing on the fact that entire humanity must come together in the battle against the virus, also spoke about how India acted as a leader in providing essential medicines to needy nations in times of crisis.

"On our part, India is playing a key role in fostering bilateral and regional partnerships. Under our Prime Minister's able leadership, India has supplied essential medicines to 123 nations as an expression of solidarity," he had said. 

"I stand here to honour the doctors, the nurses, the paramedics, the scientists, the journalists, the delivery boys, security staff, sanitation staff and the police personnel - the forgotten roles who are today playing 'superhumans'. They are our real heroes," he added.

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The WHA on Monday, adopted a resolution on investigating the origins of the virus after China finally acquiesced to an international inquiry on the deadly Coronavirus pandemic that has taken the world hostage. The inquiry also includes conducting an investigation on the role and response of WHO to the pandemic. 

"I thank Member States for adopting the resolution, which calls for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response - including, but not limited to, WHO's performance. As I said yesterday, I will initiate such an evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment," said Tedros.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 3,22,000 deaths while the number of infected cases is speedily moving towards 5 million worldwide. At present, the total number of infected cases across the world stands at 4,892,550, while the number goes on increasing by the hour.

(With ANI inputs) 

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