The Secretariat

The APO Secretariat is based within the WHO at its Regional Office for the South East Asia in New Delhi, India and plays both an administrative and technical role. It is responsible for setting normative guidelines, monitoring and evaluation, coordination with partners, and review and dissemination of the APO’s HiTs and other products.

Director, Dr Nima Asgari-Jirhandeh

APO Director manages the Secretariat, oversees its programme of work, and reports to the Board.

Dr. Nima Asgari is the Director of the APO. He joined the Secretariat on 10 October 2016. He has over 20 years of experience, working in public health development and health systems focusing on strategic planning and coordination of development across multiple partners.

Dr. Asgari has been with WHO since 2004, setting health system priority agendas in both global and country settings. Prior to joining APO, he coordinated WHO activities across key Thai public health agencies and international partners for non-communicable diseases, health related consequences of trade, health in all policies, and transformative health education.

In Cambodia and China, Dr. Asgari put into action his WHO headquarters experience, strengthening critical gaps of the health system to be able to respond to emerging diseases and comply with International Health Regulations. His persistent collaboration led to the development of a diagnostic microbiology laboratory network, routine surveillance system, and setting up of the modified Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Cambodia.

Prior to joining WHO, Dr Asgari worked for the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency optimizing public health service delivery at local levels in London. He also worked on development evidence based national clinical management guidelines at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Dr. Nima Asgari received his medical degree as well as Bachelor’s degree in Parasitology from University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has a Master’s degree in Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is a fellow of the Faculty of Public Health in England. He has numerous peer reviewed publications covering various aspects of emerging diseases.

Technical Officer, Dr Anns Issac

Dr Issac joined the APO as a Technical Officer on 23 May 2019. She supports APO’s program of research and quality control of flagship products. She has over 6 years of professional experience in international collaborative projects on development sector issues and health system strengthening in India. Dr Issac holds a PhD in Public Health from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has publications in peer-reviewed journals and edited books.


Executive Assistant, Ms Ritu Agarwal

Ritu Agarwal assists with day to day operations of the Secretariat, including managing contracts with partners; interacting with member country focal points for follow-ups; monitoring implementation of APO workplan; coordinate administrative preparation for meetings/seminars; preparing background briefings and background materials and Ritu has worked for 12 years in WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. She holds a graduate degree from Delhi University, India and post-graduate diploma in computers.

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