The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (58) as one of two deputy directors general. This is first time such second-highest position created within WHO and highest post held by Indian in WHO.
Dr Swaminathan will replace Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah from Ghana, who joined WHO as senior policy adviser to director-general.
Dr. Swaminathan is currently Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). She is a paediatrician and clinical scientist and globally-recognised researcher on tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, who has over 30 years of experience in clinical care and research.
She did her MBBS and MD from Armed Forces Medical College and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), respectively. She had served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva from 2009 to 2011.
She was member of several WHO and global advisory bodies, including WHO Expert Panel to Review Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and IP, Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Global TB Department at WHO. She was also Co-Chair of Lancet Commission on TB.
She is one of the three daughters of Dr MS Swaminathan, who is known as the father of green revolution in India.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO is specialized agency of United Nations that acts as coordinating authority on international public health. It was established in April 1948 and succeeded Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and its headquarters is located at Geneva. WHO flag features the Rod of Asclepius as a symbol for healing.