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Dr Soumya Swaminathan Becomes First Indian Appointed As WHO Deputy DG

News World India | 0
| October 4 , 2017 , 13:59 IST

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appointed Indian scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan as the Deputy Director General for Programmes, the second highest post in WHO after that of Director General and the highest post ever held by an Indian.  

As Dr Ghebreyesus announced his senior leadership team on Tuesday, Dr Swaminathan and Jane Ellison, the Special Parliamentary Adviser to the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer were appointed as Deputy Director Generals. While Dr Swaminathan was appointed as Deputy Director General for Programmes, Ellison was appointed as Deputy Director General for Corporate Operations.

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Currently the DG of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and union health ministry Department of Health Research Secretary, Dr Swaminathan has spent 30 years in the field of public health.

A paediatrician by specialisation, Dr Swaminathan is known for her work on the infectious bacterial disease tuberculosis (TB). She spearheaded the international tuberculosis consortium that creates more research and diagnostic tools to tackle TB.

Before working with the ICMR, Dr Swaminathan was the director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.

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WHO, in an official statement, described the new team that includes accomplished individuals from 14 countries.

“The team represents 14 countries, including all WHO regions, and is more than 60% women, reflecting my deep-held belief that we need top talent, gender equity and a geographically diverse set of perspectives to fulfil our mission to keep the world safe,” said Dr Tedros.

The appointed “includes former ministers of health, some of the world’s leading physicians, scientists and researchers, and programmatic experts in universal health coverage, health emergencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases, climate and environmental health, and women’s, adolescents’ and children’s health,” said the WHO statement.