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Centre appoints ex-WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan as principal advisor for TB programme


New Delhi: The Union government has named Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist of the World Health Organization, as principal advisor for its National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme.

Swaminathan, who played a key role during the pandemic outbreak, will provide technical advice on the overall strategy to achieve programme goals, suggest policy directions and necessary course corrections for optimal outcomes, and advise on research strategy.

“She will also assist in the formation of expert groups with top talent globally. Additionally, she will support the union health ministry, state officials, and development partners in assessing the impact of the programme,” Union health ministry said in a statement. Her appointment is on a pro bono basis.

Swaminathan has also served as director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) during 2015-2017.

At WHO, Swaminathan led the science division with a focus on research, quality assurance of norms and standards and digital health. She played a key role during the pandemic in coordinating scientific efforts at the WHO, as well as in setting up Covax, with a focus on equitable vaccine distribution to LMICs.

Swaminathan is a paediatrician and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV. She has a vast experience of over 30 years in clinical care and research, and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes.

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