Home / Politics / Policy /  Dr Soumya Swaminathan appointed WHO’s deputy director general for programmes

New Delhi: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has been appointed the deputy director general for programmes (DDP) of World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement on Tuesday, while declaring the senior leadership team at the apex health agency.

She also holds a key position as secretary in the department of health research, ministry of health and family welfare.

Dr Swaminathan, a pediatrician by speciality, has more than 30 years of experience in clinical care, research and translating those findings into programs.

From 2009 to 2011, she served as coordinator of UNICEF, UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva.

A globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, Dr Swaminathan has been on several WHO and global advisory bodies and committees, including the WHO Expert Panel to Review Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of the Global TB Department at WHO and as Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on TB.

She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom and the US and has published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She holds an MBBS degree from Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in India, MD degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), along with a Diplomate of National Board from National Board of Examinations. She subsequently held post-doctoral medical fellowship in pediatric pulmonology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. She has bagged over nine awards in the field of medicine so far.

Dr Swaminathan’s father M.S. Swaminathan is considered the pioneer of Green Revolution in India and mother Mina Swaminathan is a known educationalist.

Other new appointments at the WHO include Britain’s Jane Ellison, who will serve as deputy director general for corporate operations. The new team at WHO also 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. Individually and collectively, they have a wealth of experience across government, private sector, multilateral, civil society and academic organizations.

“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 in a press statement.

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