Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh was awarded the National Order of Merit (Gold) in recognition of her distinguished services to Bhutan.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the first Indian Regional Director for WHO’s South-East Asia Region, played a pivotal role in supporting transformative healthcare leadership in Bhutan from 2014 to 2024. Her tenure witnessed remarkable strides, including Bhutan becoming one of the first countries to eliminate measles and rubella ahead of schedule. She made significant contributions to help Bhutan excel in COVID-19 vaccination. Dr Khetrapal Singh’s impactful strategies extended across communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases, reproductive health, health systems, and social determinants, have had a lasting positive impact on Bhutan’s public health services.