Anil Soni to Lead The WHO Foundation as its First CEO
By: Ashwathy Nair
Indian-origin global health expert Anil Soni is appointed to lead The WHO Foundation as its first CEO. The newly established – The WHO Foundation will be working alongside the WHO (World Health Organisation) in order to tackle today’s biggest health challenges, globally.
The role of the first CEO at The WHO Foundation will be taken by Anil Soni on 1st January 2021. Soni will be responsible for leading “work to invest in innovative, evidence-based initiatives that will support the World Health Organisation to deliver on its mission to ensure healthy lives and to promote well-being for all”.
Earlier, Soni was working as the Head of Global Infectious Diseases in the US, with a global healthcare company named Viatris. As per the Director of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the field of global health, Soni is a “proven innovator” and he has spent two decades in serving the community affected by the AIDS epidemic as well as other diseases.
The foundation, being led by Soni will be providing invaluable support to the mission of the WHO as he has a unique set of abilities spanning across the public and private sector.
On the appointment of the first CEO of the WHO Foundation, Soni stated that the world is at a “critical juncture” for global public health. “After months of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, there is hope for several successful vaccine candidates. Beyond this important step, the path towards recovery requires expanded investment in many health priorities that have been compromised in recent months – from drops in vaccine coverage and HIV treatment to delays in treatment of cancer.” Unique new opportunities are represented by The WHO Foundation for everyone in the world to contribute themselves in tackling these challenges and in supporting global health, through a strong and vibrant WHO.
In the early years of the Global Fund, Soni was closely involved in fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by serving from the year 2002-2004 as the Advisor to the Executive Director and from 2004-2005 as the Founding Executive Director of Friends of the Global Fight.
During the year 2005-2010, Soni served as the CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative and oversaw the rapid expansion of the organization.
The WHO Foundation, as a separate legal body, aims to support and enhance the efforts of the WHO to deal with global health issues. As the world’s leading international health authority, it serves as a platform for new forms of public-private interaction, while maintaining the neutrality and independence of the WHO.