India is set to lead the annual meeting at the World Health Organization(WHO) headquarters of the global health body next month. As per reports, India will assume the lead position on 22 May at the first meeting of the WHO executive board at World Health Assembly conference. India will replace Japan which will complete its one year term at the crucial job in May.
The Chairperson position to India was decided last year when the WHO South-East Asia group unanimously proposed New Delhi to the executive board for a three-term year.
The group also nominated India for the chairperson’s post held by rotation for one year among regional groups.
World Health Assembly truncated
The World Health Assembly is proposed to be held on May 18 that formally elects the executive board members to fill vacancies. But it is supposed to be the much shorter version compared to what was proposed earlier with 60 agenda items. Now, there will be only three.
The opening assembly session will be addressed by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that will be focussed on the Wuhan coronavirus preparedness and response. The assembly will then move to formally elect the executive board members and chairs including India.
As head of the 34-member Executive Board, India’s nominee would have to work closely with Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
For all practical purposes, this implies that the Director-General of the WHO has to get the chairperson on board for all important decisions, a diplomat said.
India will also be a member of the programme budget and administration committee, replacing Indonesia.
An official from WHO claimed that India is on the side of transparency and accountability in the COVID-19 outbreak and reforms in WHO.
WHO Executive Board
India can also have a position as the next WHO Director-General after Tedros Adhanom five year term ends in May 2021. An executive board of 34-members is mandated to interview the candidates who will face the election at health assembly.
Earlier, the executive board used to have a word on the appointment of WHO’s Director-General for all practical purposes. It would select the Director-General and send the nomination to the general assembly for formal vetting.
WHO outlook on Coronavirus
Dr. Tedros Adhanom has declared that the global crisis will not anytime soon. “Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time. Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics. And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases,” he said.