Dr Henk Bekedam

WHO Representative to India

Henk Bekedam is the WHO Representative to India; he took up his role on 27 November 2015. He is a Dutch national and a medical doctor by training. He acquired his MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1996.

Prior to his arrival in India, Dr Bekedam was the WHO Representative to Egypt where he took up his position in 2013. He and the team focused WHO’s support on scaling-up treatment and prevention of hepatitis C; strengthening the response to the largest outbreak of avian flu in humans and maintaining Egypt’s polio free status. In addition, WHO facilitated a White Paper that outlines a clear path for Egypt to move towards Universal Health Coverage, including steps towards a comprehensive health insurance system for all Egyptians.

Dr Bekedam was for six years the Director of Health Sector Development in the WHO Western Pacific Region. He led a team that provided policy support to 37 countries and areas in Universal Health Coverage, health planning, financing, human resources, information systems, pharmaceuticals and service delivery. Antimicrobial resistance and the establishment of the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies with other development partners were among his key responsibilities.

Dr Bekedam was the WHO Representative to China from 2002 to 2007. His team was instrumental in supporting China successfully contain the SARS outbreak in 2003. His other areas of work included: Avian Influenza, food safety, AIDS, tuberculosis, tobacco control, and chronic diseases. Additionally, WHO advised China on health sector reform, helping to overcome challenges of inaccessibility, poor quality of services and rising costs.

Prior to his time in China, Dr Bekedam worked in Cambodia for six years. He led a health sector reform project, working with Ministries of Health and Finance, State Council and partners to rebuild the health system in post-Khmer Rouge period.