AGENCIES, New Delhi: Under pressure from big donor countries like the US who have accused it of mismanaging coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a truncated annual meeting on May 18 where among agenda items, discussions will also include structural or portfolio changes at the organisation.
Given the importance of India’s leadership and efforts in the containment of the pandemic, India is a strong candidate to move into a leadership role at WHO headquarters.
India will assume the position on May 22 at the executive board’s first meeting after the truncated World Health Assembly conference. This means that in the rotation process, India will replace Japan, which will complete its one-year term in May, diplomats in Delhi and Geneva have confirmed.
The chairperson’s position favouring India was decided in 2019 when the WHO’s South-East Asia group unanimously proposed New Delhi to the executive board for a three-year term. The same group also nominated India for the chairperson’s post held by rotation for one year among regional groups.
Apart from the opening of the assembly session, WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will discuss Covid-19 preparedness and response. India’s nominee will work closely with Ghebreyesus and will be responsible to implement the decisions and policies laid down by the World Health Assembly.
The appointment of India’s nominee as chairperson of the WHO’s executive board will come at a time the world and the United Nations agency are struggling to stop the highly contagious Sars-Cov-2 pathogen from spreading further.