Dr Soumya Swaminathan, renowned medical researcher and health policy expert, has been appointed the deputy director general 0f the World Health Organisation.
Soumya, who is a leading researcher on HIV and tuberculosis, acts as the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research. She is also the secretary of the Department of Health Research in the Ministry of Health. According to Firstpost, the WHO announcement said,
“A globally recognised researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes.”
Her appointment was announced by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, on Tuesday.
After completing her MBBS from Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, Soumya completed her MD from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. A paediatrician by profession, she has published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.
Soumya served as the coordinator of UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, and the WHO Special Programme between 2009 and 2011. So far, she has received nine awards for her contribution to the field of medicine.
Soumya is the daughter of MS Swaminathan, considered the father of India’s Green Revolution, and Mina Swaminathan, a well-known educationalist. Her latest appointment makes Soumya the first Indian to hold WHO’s second-highest position.
Other members of WHO include former ministers of health, the world’s leading physicians, researchers, and scientists. According to Livemint, Dr Tedros, after appointing other members of WHO, said,
“The team represents 14 countries, including all WHO regions, and is more than 60 percent 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.”