Introduction

India would now be playing a more prominent role at the World Health Organisation (WHO), with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan set to take charge as chairman of the WHO Executive Board at its 147th session.

The WHO, a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health, is currently at the forefront of global efforts towards containing the novel coronavirus pandemic. India is a member state of the South East Asia Region at the WHO.

The WHO, WHA and the Executive Board

  • The WHO is governed by two decision-making bodies — the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board.
  • The WHO headquarters are located at Geneva in Switzerland.
  • The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO.
  • It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
  • The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland (sometimes in special sessions).
  • The Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health, with members being elected for three-year terms.
  • The Board chairman’s post is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups: African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, European Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region, and Western Pacific Region.
  • The main functions of the Executive Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.
  • The Board and the Assembly create a forum for debate on health issues and for addressing concerns raised by Member States.

India at the WHO

India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948.

The first session of the South East Asia Regional Committee was held on October 4-5, 1948 in the office of the Indian Minister of Health, and was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister.

-Source: Indian Express

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