Administration officials said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden intends to nominate Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to represent the United States on the executive board of the World Health Organization, reported Reuters citing sources.
Murthy was the Surgeon General of the United States under both Biden and former President Barack Obama. If the U.S. Senate confirms him, he will carry on in that capacity while accepting the WHO position.
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One official added, “With his experience and expertise, the president is confident that Dr. Murthy will build on his commitment to an era of relentless diplomacy by representing our nation on the world stage.”
The person stated that re-joining the WHO “requires an experienced and seasoned physician and public health expert” who can elaborate on the U.S. dedication to global health. “Dr. Murthy is the perfect person for that,” the source added.
After his predecessor, former President Donald Trump claimed in 2020 that the country would withdraw from the organisation due to its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Biden announced that the US would reengage with the WHO upon taking office in January 2021.
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If elected, Murthy promised to “continue to elevate U.S leadership on the global stage and ensure public health is at the forefront of our planning and preparation for global challenges.”
Murthy will continue to reside in Washington, where he shares a home with his wife and two children, but will travel to Geneva “whenever necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of this role,” according to a second administration official.
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The 34 members of the executive board of the WHO each have a three-year tenure. The World Health Assembly, which consists of the WHO member states, sets the agenda and implements the policies, according to the organization’s website. Since 2020, the U.S. has not had a board representative who has been confirmed by the Senate.