Dechen Wangmo

Head, Lead Agency for Mental Health (PEMA), Royal Government of Bhutan

Dechen Wangmo was appointed by Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, Queen of Bhutan, to lead the PEMA Agency for Mental Health starting in 2024. Ms Wangmo previously served as the Health Minister of Bhutan. Prior to joining politics in 2018, she worked as a public health international consultant with a primary focus on health systems, governance, policy, and strategic planning for governments and civil societies in the South-East Asia region and beyond.

She is a passionate public health advocate and social worker at heart. Besides her membership in several professional organisations, she is also the former Chairperson of the PEMA; Founder of the Bhutan Cancer Society, a CSO working for the well-being of cancer patients in the country; Founding Member and Chairperson for Lhaksam, an HIV-positive network in the country; and an Advisory Board Member of the Bhutan Foundation.

Ms Wangmo is also currently serving as one of the global leaders for antimicrobial resistance organised by the Tripartite Collaboration of the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and World Health Organization (WHO). In 2018 she served as the Executive Board Member of the WHO for the period of one year. At the height of COVID-19 pandemic she was elected as the President of the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), an honour bestowed on Bhutan for the first time since it became a member of the WHO in 1982. More recently she was nominated as the Chairperson of the 75th Regional Committee Meeting for WHO SEARO in September 2022, before which she served as the vice-chair for the 74th RCM WHO SEARO in September 2021.

Last updated: 4 Apr 2024

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