GENEVA: United Nations agency the World Health Organization has appointed former journalist Vaiju Naravane as its director of PR.
Naravane's post is new and comes as recently appointed WHO director general Gro Harlem Brundtland restructures the organization. Reporting to the director general's office, Naravane will be responsible for WHO's media relations and public information staff at its Geneva HQ.
Media relations and public information were previously the responsibility of health promotion, education and communication director Ilona Kickbusch, who left in August. Her duties have been split between Naravane and a new post that has yet to be filled.
Naravane joins from India's leading English language daily newspaper, Hindu, where she was the Paris-based correspondent for southern and eastern Europe for three years. She was previously correspondent for the Times of India and a freelance radio producer and editorial writer for UN agency UNESCO for eight years.
WHO was created 50 years ago with a mandate to improve world health.
Since Brundtland took over as director general this year, it has launched two initiatives: Roll Back Malaria, to fight malaria in Africa, and the worldwide Tobacco Free Initiative.