Columnnist

Poonam Khetrapal

WHO Regional Director

Dr Poonam Khetrapal is the South-East Asia regional director at the World Health Organization.

Poonam Khetrapal
14 Sep 2021

Plan to build back better in SE Asia

The world is at a crossroads. Almost two years since SARS-CoV-2 was detected, some countries globally are returning normal, or something very close. Many more countries -- including in the WHO South-East Asia Region -- continue to aggressively respond, battling new and more transmissible variants. Social and economic disruptions continue.

14 Sep 2021 5
29 Jul 2021

Don't forget about viral hepatitis

The World Health Organization (WHO) Southeast Asia region is intensifying action to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. Globally, an estimated 296 million people live with chronic hepatitis B and around 58 million live with chronic hepatitis C. In 2019, viral hepatitis caused nearly 1.1 million deaths globally, despite the existence of safe and effective vaccines that can prevent hepatitis B and antiviral drugs that can manage chronic hepatitis B and cure most cases of hepatitis C. An estimated 60 million people in the region live with chronic hepatitis B and around 10.5 million live with chronic hepatitis C. In 2019, around 180,000 people in the region died of hepatitis B and about 38,000 died of hepatitis C -- both completely manageable.

29 Jul 2021 17
24 Jun 2021

Ramp up action against NCDs

Amid the Covid-19 response, opportunities to prevent, detect, control and treat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) must be fully harnessed.

24 Jun 2021 2
2 Jun 2021

SEA must deploy all tools possible

The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia region has in recent months witnessed a sharp and sustained surge of SARS-CoV2 infections. For consecutive weeks in April and May, the region has reported more than 2 million new cases, with some areas reporting test positivity rates 40% and upwards. Variants of concern and their sub-lineages have been detected in several member states and may be associated with increased rates of transmission. Both the region and world are at a critical moment in the battle against Covid-19. No country is safe. We are all at risk.

2 Jun 2021 7
5 Feb 2020

Four weapons against coronavirus

The novel coronavirus outbreak has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

5 Feb 2020 10
Four weapons against coronavirus
29 May 2018

WHO hates trans fats

The World Health Organisation has called on all countries to make the world free of trans fats by 2023, and some countries already have done so.

29 May 2018
WHO hates trans fats
7 Sep 2017

Time to build climate-resilient health systems

Climate change is happening. In recent years average temperatures across the globe have increased...

7 Sep 2017
Time to build climate-resilient health systems
8 May 2017

Death on the highways

Though the behaviour of road users matters, poor public policy is at the root of the problem, including poor data and worse infrastructure.

8 May 2017
Death on the highways
7 Apr 2017

A depressing view

Talking about depression can be challenging, and even broaching the subject can provoke a range of fears and apprehensions.

7 Apr 2017
A depressing view
30 Jan 2017

The mean disease

In our ongoing efforts to achieve zero leprosy transmission and zero leprosy-related disabilities, inclusiveness is the remedy most urgently needed.

30 Jan 2017
The mean disease