(BY . Ijaz Hashmi ) Pakistan elected chair of WHO executive board
In a major evelopment, Pakistan was elected as chair of the World Health Organizations Executive Board. The elite group considered the highest global policy forum on health comprising of 34 members countries elected Pakistan as its chair during its 141st session held on 1st June in Geneva where after Director General Health of Pakistan Dr. Assad Hafeez formally assumed office as Chairman of the Executive Board.
The election was a two tier process. The first phase was held at the regional level while the final phase at the global forum. Pakistan was first elected by the group of 22 countries comprising the Eastern Mediterranean Region and later at the global forum by the Executive Board comprising of 34 countries. The Executive Board is composed of 34 individuals technically qualified in the field of health, each one designated by a Member State elected to do so by the World Health Assembly. Member States are elected for three-year terms.
Minister for National Health Services, Saira Afzal Tarar congratulated the nation over the development and said it was indeed a great honor for Pakistan and recognition of the important role the country was playing in the global health arena. She said Pakistan had been chosen earlier as the host of prestigious regional conference of health ministers being held in October that will bring together Health Ministers from 22 countries in South Asia, Middle East, West Asia and North Africa. Pakistan has previously served as Vice Chair of the Executive Board and is also member of the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
The Executive Board of the World Health Organization meets at least twice a year. The annual Board meeting is held in January when the member countries agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly. The main functions of the Executive Board are to advise and facilitate the World Health Assembly and to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly comprising 194 member countries.