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WHO Executive Board

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

WHO Executive Board

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: executive board- composition and functions.

Context: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as chairman of the WHO Executive Board at its 147th session.

Vardhan would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.

What is the WHO Executive Board?

It is one of the WHO’s two decision making bodies. The other one is the World Health Assembly. The agency’s headquarters are located at Geneva in Switzerland.


The executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health.

The Board chairman’s post is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups: African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, European Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region, and Western Pacific Region.


Members are elected for three-year terms.


  • Sets out agenda for the Health Assembly and resolutions for forwarding to the Assembly are adopted.
  • Gives effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly.
  • Advises it and facilitates its work.
  • The Board and the Assembly create a forum for debate on health issues and for addressing concerns raised by Member States.

Both the Board and the Assembly produce three kinds of documents — Resolutions and Decisions passed by the two bodies, Official Records as published in WHO Official publications, and Documents that are presented “in session” of the two bodies.

Key facts:

  • India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948.
  • The first Regional Director for South East Asia was an Indian, Dr Chandra Mani, who served between 1948-1968.
  • Since 2019, Dr Soumya Swaminathan has been the WHO’s Chief Scientist.


Prelims Link:

  1. World Health Assembly- composition and functions.
  2. Regional bodies of WHO.
  3. Documents released by WHA and executive board.
  4. Chairmanship of EB.

Mains Link:

Discuss the composition and objectives of WHO executive board.

Sources: Indian Express.