Who Is Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh? WHO’s Regional Director for South East Asia

Poonam Khetrapal Singh
Poonam Khetrapal Singh is the first woman to be appointed as a regional director of the World Health Organisation South-East region. Here is a look at the woman who is currently serving her second five-year term in office following reelection by the Region’s 11 Member States in September 2018.

Singh was formally appointed to the position on 26 January 2019 at the 144th Session of the WHO Executive Board, making her the first woman to hold the post.

According to a report by WHO official website, Singh has dedicated more than three decades to strengthening public health as a leader and manager at national as well as international levels. Moreover, she possesses vast experience in developing evidence-based, scientifically sound policies in complex provincial, national and international health systems. Owing to her strong, responsive and strategically sound leadership, Singh continues to support Member States deliver remarkable results across the WHO South-East Asia Region.

Who Is Poonam Khetrapal Singh?

Initially, Singh used to serve as a civil servant in India as a member of the Indian Administrative Services for over two decades. She was in charge of roles as Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab Industrial development corporations and Managing Director of Punjab Financial Corporation in Punjab.

Later in 1987, she moved to the World Bank. The following year, she joined WHO headquarters as Executive Director, Healthy Environments Cluster, Sustainable Development. She furthermore became a member of the Director-General’s Cabinet.

Poonam Khetrapal In The World Health Organisation

Later, she became WHO Deputy Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region and joined the Government of India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as Advisor for International Health. In the same, her principal task was to take forward the international health agenda, strengthen global health outcomes.

Moreover, it is Singh’s vision to build a strong responsive WHO Regional Office so that the Member States be in a compelling position to rapidly advance the health and well-being of their people, according to the report.

“Dr Khetrapal Singh’s results-based focus, her commitment to supporting the Member States, and her dedication to driving real change in the lives of the most vulnerable will continue to serve the Region well,” the report added.