The World Health Organisation is set to get its first woman Regional Director, South-East Asia region, in Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

Having worked with the World Health Organisation for 15 years, Khetrapal Singh has been nominated as regional head of the WHO’s South-East Asia region. She was nominated to the post of Regional Director for five years, by the 11 member states of the region, a WHO note said.

The 32-member Executive Board of WHO will officially appoint Khetrapal Singh as Regional Director in January 2014 in Geneva. She is expected to take office as the regional director in India on February 1, 2014.

Khetrapal Singh started her WHO career in 1998 as a member of Gro Harlem Brundland’s Cabinet, the then WHO Director-General. She served as the Executive Director for sustainable development and healthy environment in Geneva.

From 2000 to 2013, as the Deputy Regional Director for WHO’s South-East Asia Region, she served as the principal adviser to the Regional Director, providing managerial, technical and programmatic support for WHO’s programmes.

Khetrapal Singh is a senior civil servant, having held the post of Secretary and Joint Secretary, Health and Family Welfare.

She has also served with Health, Population and Nutrition (PHN) with the World Bank Mission in India, where she worked to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of health services.

Recently she has been working as an adviser in international health to the Indian Health Ministry.

(This article was published on September 13, 2013)
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