Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, an Indian national, became the first woman to assume the office of WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia on 1 February 2014. Dr Khetrapal Singh’s priority areas of work in the Region are:
• Addressing the persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges
• Promoting universal health coverage and robust health systems
• Strengthening emergency risk management for sustainable development
• Articulating a strong regional voice in the global health agenda
She served for over two decades as a civil servant in India as member of the Indian Administrative Services. She was the Health Secretary of the State of Punjab, with a population of 22 million and a health budget of US$ 350 million.
In 1987 she moved to the Health, Population and Nutrition Department of The World Bank. In 1998 she joined WHO headquarters as Executive Director, Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments Cluster, and a member of the HQ senior management. Dr Khetrapal Singh served as WHO Deputy Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region from 2000 to 2013. In February 2013, she joined the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India as Advisor for International Health, where her principal task was to strengthen global health outcomes and provide guidance to the Ministry to take forward the international health agenda.
Mosquitoes are pests with no equal. Though not all mosquitoes transmit life-threatening diseases, those that do kill approximately 725,000 people worldwide every year. The diseases mosquitoes spread c...
A shot of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth can help save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. When followed up with at least two more doses of the vaccine during the first year of life, the birth dose protects newborns from mother-to-child transmission of the liver-wasting disease, and also guards against infection during a period when the virus is most damaging to future health. Yet, many practitioners are unaware of or ignore this need.
Thailand has provided the world with an important milestone towards the global goal of ending paediatric AIDS. This week, the World Health Organization is formally declaring that Thailand has officially eliminated new HIV infections among children. Thailand's achievement offers inspiration as we work towards the global goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
The greatest threats to public health are far from shocking or contagious. They are familiar and common. Diabetes--a condition that's often the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity--is expected to increase rapidly to become the world's seventh largest killer by 2030. On World Health Day 2016, we have the potential to re-calibrate our priorities, recognize the public health threat diabetes poses and do something about it. We can defy expectations and beat the diabetes epidemic. The battle must begin.
As with all disasters, the extent of the carnage was dependent on the preparedness, resilience and accessibility of the country's health care system and its ability to deal with the flood of patients requiring urgent, life-saving treatment. In this regard, the Government of Nepal must be given credit.
Every person has a role to play in reducing the disease burden of leprosy and removing this age-old scourge from the planet. We need to enhance awareness about the early signs of the disease, make treatment available and encourage acceptance of the affected at home, school or at the workplace. These coordinated efforts would improve early case detection and help us reach the goal of zero child cases with visible deformity or grade 2 disability by 2020.