Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh has been appointed Regional Director for World Health Organization South-East Asia, for a second five-year term. The WHO Executive Board on January 26 unanimously endorsed Dr. Khetrapal Singh, who was earlier also unanimously nominated by 11 member countries of the Region for another five years. Congratulating her, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “The first woman to become Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region, you have provided dynamic leadership in a region that accounts for a quarter of the world’s population but a disproportionate burden of diseases. Under your leadership, the region has made remarkable progress.”
In her acceptance speech, Dr. Singh said, “It is a privilege to once again be appointed as Regional Director of WHO South-East Region. The confidence you have reposed in me is humbling.” Outlining her vision for the second term that begins on February 1, Dr. Singh, said sustaining the gains, accelerating progress to finish the unfinished agenda and innovating, would be the approach to ensure health and wellbeing of the 1.8 billion people across the region.
In her first term, Dr. Singh, focused on building an increasingly responsive and accountable WHO in the Region, while prioritizing persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges, promoting universal health coverage and building robust health systems, strengthening emergency risk management and articulating a strong regional voice in global health agenda. She identified eight flagship priority programmes, focusing on results and accountability, which are cascading into sustainable and result-oriented efforts.