Korea named executive board member of WHO

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Korea named executive board member of WHO

Korea was named Tuesday as a member of the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO), which will allow it to play a leading role in resolving global health challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, announced Seoul’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.
 
Korea was one of 10 countries newly elected to join the 34-member executive board tasked with advising and giving effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, the top decision-making body of the WHO.  
 
Korean Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip speaks at a coronavirus briefing Wednesday at the government complex in Seoul after being tapped as a member of the executive board of the World Health Organization. [YONHAP]

Korean Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip speaks at a coronavirus briefing Wednesday at the government complex in Seoul after being tapped as a member of the executive board of the World Health Organization. [YONHAP]

Korean Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip, one of the health officials at the forefront of the country’s coronavirus quarantine measures, was tapped to represent the country. Korea will serve on the board for a three-year term which runs through 2023.  
 
Kim received his bachelor’s degree in social studies at Yonsei University, his master’s degree in social work at the University of Chicago and doctorate degree in public health at Yonsei.  
 
Prior to becoming vice health minister in May 2019, Kim served as a technical attaché to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Unescap, and as a councilor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.
 
Kim has since February served as overall coordinator of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters, headed by Jung Eun-kyeong. Both health officials have become household faces due to their commitment to daily coronavirus briefings to keep the public informed and promote transparent dissemination of information amid the pandemic.  
 
The member states of the board represent six regions around the world, and Korea was the only new country from the Western Pacific region.  
 
This marks the seventh time that Korea will sit on the executive board since joining the WHO in 1949.
 
The other members newly elected to the board by the Geneva-based World Health Assembly are Botswana, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, India, Madagascar, Oman, Russia and Britain. Each member state of the board designates an individual technically qualified in the health sector.  
 
The board holds at least two meetings annually, one in January and one in May after the 194-member World Health Assembly.  
 
Kim will take part in the executive board’s 147th session kicking off through a videoconference on Friday to review the results of the World Health Assembly, discuss administrative and budget issues of the WHO and the agenda of the WHO assembly to be held in November.  
 
India, represented by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, is set to chair this session, taking over from Japan.  
 
Kim said in a statement Tuesday, “We will be sharing our countries’ experience overcoming the crisis brought on by Covid-19 with the international community and show international leadership in the quarantine and health field in the post-coronavirus era."  
 
Korea has been working to share its K-quarantine model and its experience containing the new coronavirus through an advanced system of testing, tracing and tracking paired with transparency and public cooperation to help overcome the global pandemic.  
 
BY SARAH KIM   kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr  
 

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