The World Health Organization has an Indian doctor for its new Deputy Director General for Programmes. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research has been appointed as the same.
A paediatrician by trade, Swaminathan is famous for her research in tuberculosis. The position she now adorns in the WHO is the second highest position in the global organization. It comes only below the Director General. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who took the post in July is the Director General.
Swaminathan's is also the highest position adorned by an Indian in WHO’s history.
DOCTOR RESPONSIBLE FOR RAISING INDIA’S FOCUS ON TB RESEARCH
The doctor comes with over 30 years of experience in clinical research. She used to be the director of the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.
She has been largely responsible for heightening the focus on tuberculosis research in India. To this end, she even created a consortium called “India TB Research and Development Corporation.” The organization aimed to bring under the same umbrella all the leading national and international stakeholders to develop new tools that could combat TB including diagnostics, vaccines and drugs.
In a related statement, the WHO said that the new team includes people from 14 different nations. It “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.”
“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.
Dr. Sowmya Swaminathan hails from Tamil Nadu and her father is the legendary MS Swaminathan- considered as the pioneer of the Green Revolution in India.