According to the WHO, Dr Soumya Swaminathan has been appointed Deputy Director General for Programmes (DDP). A paediatrician from India and a globally recognised researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes.
Most recently, Dr Swaminathan was Secretary of the Department of Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva.
Sources in the United Nations said with this appointment Dr Swaminathan becomes the highest ranking Indian official in the entire United Nations system across the world and joins the list of top 20 most powerful women among the United Nations bodies and would be among the top 50 most highly ranked persons in the United Nations system.
She has sat on several WHO and global advisory bodies and committees, including the WHO Expert Panel to Review Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of the Global TB Department at WHO, and as Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on TB.
She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom and the United States and has published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.