Dr Rakesh Kumar
Population Services International
India Country Office, New Delhi
After having trained as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, Dr Kumar joined the prestigious Indian Administrative Service in 1992. He has held several leaderships positions in India such as District Magistrate; Secretary to State Government; Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India leading the RMNCAH portfolio, Senior Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, and most recently as the Additional Country Director/Chief Advisor to UNDP India where he led SDG integration and State Outreach. Currently, he is leading the USAID-funded urban health initiative as Chief Advisor to Population Services International in India.
His seminal achievements include establishing of 6 new AIIMS; being the architect of world’s largest immunization programme – Mission Indradhanush; introducing five new vaccines and three contraceptives; leading Polio Eradication and Maternal and Newborn Tetanus Elimination programs; developing India’s Newborn Action Plan, curating the ‘Call to Action Summit’ on preventable U5 mortality with USAID, India, and Ethiopia as well as adopting high impact interventions under RMNCAH in India. His policy-decisions around maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) have helped in achieving a record decline in MMR, U5MR and NMR in India.
Dr. Kumar is a recipient of several prestigious fellowships and awards by National Neonatology Forum (NNF) and Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), the SKOCH Challenger Award and the South East Asian Public Health Education Institutions Network (SEAPHEIN) Leadership Award for his contribution to public health in India and WHO’s South East Asia Region respectively. He has also been chosen as a Gates Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Global Health Leadership (2019) program. He is an honorary Advisor to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, also a Member of the Advisory Group of Experts to the Governor of Rajasthan on Public Health & Tribal Development in the state.
He has participated in several prestigious conferences and training programs including Management of Health Emergencies in Large Populations and a Leadership Program on Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (USA); Improving the Quality of Health Services and Health Sector Reforms and Sustainable Financing at Harvard School of Public Health (USA), and completed an Advanced course in Vaccinology from the prestigious IVI (South Korea). He has published several research papers and Op-Eds on public health issues in leading international journals and newspapers in India.