Selangor Journal
Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. — Photo by BERNAMA

Chairing WHO pandemic response committee, a lifetime experience for Dr Noor Hisham

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — “It is a lifetime experience chairing this highest committee in WHO,” says Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a WhatsApp message to Bernama today.

Dr Noor Hisham, who is retiring from the civil service in a week, is in Geneva chairing the second meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Standing Committee on Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (SCHEPPR), being held for two days since yesterday.

He was appointed as the committee’s first Chair for a term of between one and two years at its first meeting, which was held virtually, on Dec 12 last year.

On Monday (April 10), the media reported that Dr Noor Hisham will retire as the Health director-general on April 21, after 35 years in government service.

A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 25, 2020. — Picture by REUTERS

During the meeting remarks, he emphasised that SCHEPPR’s main role is to support and strengthen the WHO, International Health Regulations (IHR) and Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB).

Dr Noor Hisham said the introductory briefings by the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC), the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) and WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) Programme were also provided to orient Standing Committee (SC) members to their work.

“As mentioned before, this standing committee will not duplicate, but rather complement, the good work done by the IOAC and GPMB. It is also crucial for the SC to prioritise its work as outlined in the TOR, and remain focused in its discussion and deliberation,” he added.

The WHO’s 34-member Executive Board, during its annual meeting in May last year, agreed to form SCHEPPR to help speed up its response to global health emergencies such as COVID-19.

The Standing Committee shall meet at least twice annually to conduct its regular work and may decide to convene extraordinary meetings to deal with urgent matters.

— Bernama

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