Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, has been appointed the Deputy Director General, Programmes, of the World Health Organisation.
Swaminathan is a paediatrician and is known for her research in tuberculosis. This would be second highest position in the organisation, below the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who took over the post this July.
Swaminathan has more than 30 years of experience in clinical research. She was earlier the director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.
Swaminathan has been responsible for increasing the focus on tuberculosis research and created a consortium for tuberculosis research in India called “India TB Research and Development Corporation”. The body aimed at bringing together all major national and international stakeholders to develop new tools to combat TB including drugs, diagnostics and vaccines.
Swaminathan’s father, MS Swaminathan, is considered the pioneer of Green Revolution in the country.
Other new appointments at the WHO include Britain’s Jane Ellison, who will serve as Deputy Director General for Corporate Operations. The WHO also appointed 10 new assistant director generals.