The Geneva-based UN World Health Organisation has appointed South Africa’s renowned HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 researcher Salim Abdool Karim to its newly formed science council, APA learnt on Thursday.The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said Abdool Karim is part of the nine-member WHO Science Council established earlier this month to guide the WHO’s science research.
The council comprises internationally renowned experts from around the world who represent a broad range of disciplines encompassing many aspects of science – from basic research to public health implementation science, it added.
“I am looking forward to participating in this council in providing scientific advice to WHO on future developments in health that the world needs to be better prepared for,” Abdool Karim said.
The WHO body would “act as the voice of scientific leadership,” providing advice to the UN agency to respond to health problems such as global health threats, interpret the latest scientific and medical knowledge, and identify the latest advances in technology to improve health globally, according to SAMRC.
During his tenure at the WHO, Abdool Karim would guide the advancement of the organisation’s mission — including the identification of current and new science and technology issues that the WHO needs to address for direct or indirect impact on global health, the local research body said.
Abdool Karim presided over this country’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19, which positioned South Africa as one of the leading nations in the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award-winning scientist, who is also a university professor, stepped down from MAC in March this year without explaining reasons behind his decision.