The World Health Organization (WHO) had launched The WHO Foundation in May to address the health challenges amid the ongoing health crisis worldwide. Indian-origin health expert Anil Soni will be the first Chief Executive Officer of the organisation. He will take the charge of The WHO Foundation on January 1, 2021.

Talking about Soni’s appointment, the Foundation said in a statement that he will “work to invest in innovative, evidence-based initiatives that support WHO in delivering on its mission to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.”

Soni was earlier associated with healthcare company Viatris as Head of Global Infectious Diseases.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called Soni a “proven innovator” in the global health sector. For more than two decades, Soni has served communities affected by HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.

“He earned my trust when he and his team at the Clinton Health Access Initiative worked side-by-side with the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to expand access to treatment and strengthen the management of our health centers,” Ghebreyesus said.

With The Who Foundation, Soni looks to invest in many health priorities as the world is at a “critical juncture” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After months of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, there is hope for several successful vaccine candidates. Beyond this crucial step, the path to recovery necessitates expanded investment in the many health priorities that have been compromised in recent months – from drops in vaccine coverage and HIV treatment to delays in cancer treatment,” he said.