Indian Pediatrician and Clinical Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan who is best known for her work in Tuberculosis became the first Indian to hold the position of Deputy Director General of Programmes at the WHO for a year and a half. Swaminathan has more than 3 decades of experience in clinical care, research and decoding those findings into programmes.
In a potential renovation of its senior management structure, she will now be the “chief scientist” in the new division framed to bolster WHO’s core scientific work and to make sure the quality and consistency of WHO’s norms and standards. The ultimate vision of this division is also to create as many fresh career opportunities for scientists.
Swaminathan is the daughter of MS Swaminathan who is deemed as the father of India’s Green Revolution. She has been a senior researcher on HIV and Tuberculosis and was also the director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health.
Besides this, Swaminathan worked on public health on several global platforms- WHO, UN, Lancet, UNICEF, UNDP, and World Bank.
Swaminathan said told Mint that the newly created role will help her to strengthen WHO’s core related work. “It will give me a platform to promote research on public health priorities and strengthen health research capacity in countries including on ethics, and accelerate access to digital technologies to improve health,” Swaminathan said.
The refinements are to make sure that the organisation meets its “triple billion” targets in the next five years. WHO’s targets are “one billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage, one billion more people better protected from health emergencies and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being”.