Following the denial of funds from the enraged Trump Administration, the WHO Foundation was created in May to oversee the flow of grants since WHO cannot raise funds on its own. It has appointed Anil Soni as its inaugural Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2021, since WHO cannot raise funds on its own.
The Foundation, an independent grant-making agency headquartered in Geneva, was launched in May 2020 to work alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health community to address the world’s pandemics and outbreaks. Soni joins the Foundation from Viatris, a global
healthcare company, where he has served as Head of Global Infectious Diseases. In his new role, Soni is expected to accelerate the Foundation’s work to invest in innovative, evidence-based initiatives to ensure the WHO carries out its mission to ensure health for all.
Professor Thomas Zeltner, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the WHO Foundation, said,
“Anil is a dynamic leader with deep experience across all aspects of global public health.
From his work at Viatris where he has led the development and introduction of medicines to
treat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, to his leadership of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and
his time at the Global Fund, he has demonstrated his ability to work across public, private,
and nonprofit sectors and build successful new organizations from the ground up. On behalf
of the Board, we are delighted to have Anil lead the Foundation at this critical moment for the
future of global health.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, “He (Soni) earned my trust when he and his team at the Clinton Health Access Initiative worked side by side with the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to expand access to treatment and strengthen the management of our health centers.”
In his previous role at Viatris, a health initiative for AIDS, Soni as been credited with shortening the amount of time needed to make low-cost medicines available in high-burden settings. In addition to advisory roles with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the MDG Health Alliance, he will be expected to oversee the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, launched earlier in 2020, together with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, that raised $238 million in corporate and individual pledges for WHO’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Over the next three years, the WHO Foundation aims to raise $1 billion to directly impact the health of people around the world. That will change the face of what the WHO can do for the world.