The World Health Organization: Promoting Global Health

1. Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Programme.
Its objective is the promotion of high levels of health for all people. WHO’s constitution states that its objective “is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”.
In carrying out its mandate, WHO works closely with governments and other partners in order to ensure that health is placed at the centre of national agendas so that economies can grow and develop sustainably.

2. The History of WHO

The WHO was initially established as a unit within the League of Nations in 1920 following World War I. In 1946, the WHO was reformed and became a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) after World War II.
The UN had already created several specialized agencies during the war, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The WHO’s primary objective is to “promote health, keep the world safe, serve the vulnerable”.
The WHO strives to combat diseases through prevention, treatment and control by working with member countries to set global health standards and providing support in areas such as disease surveillance, immunization programs, drug control and research funding.
The WHO also provides guidance on food safety, nutrition and occupational safety and health.
In 2015, the WHO adopted a new strategy entitled “ending preventable deaths” which called for a renewed focus on primary health care, universal health coverage and health emergencies.
The WHO has 192 member states which are represented in its decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA).
The WHA meets annually to discuss key health topics and set priorities for the organization.
The WHO is governed by a 34-member Executive Board which meets 3 times a year.
The Director-General ofWHO is elected by the Executive Board for a 5-year term.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia has been Director-General since 1 July 2017.

3. The Main Aims of WHO

The main aim ofWHO is to promote global health by providing leadership on matters concerning public health and setting global norms and standards.
WHO also provides guidance on food safety, nutrition and occupational safety and health. In addition, it strives to combat diseases through prevention, treatment and control by working with member countries to set global health standards and providing support in areas such as disease surveillance, immunization programs, drug control and research funding.
In 2015,the WHO adopted a new strategy entitled “ending preventable deaths” which called for a renewed focus on primary healthcare, universal healthcare coverageandhealth emergencies. Oneof WHO’s main priorities is to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 as well as strengthening global healthcare systems so they can better respond to future pandemics or other major public health threats such as antibiotic resistance or climate change. Other recent priorities for the organization have included noncommunicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, malaria, maternal mortality, obesity and road safety. For each of these areas, the WHO works to set global norms and standards, provide guidance and support to member countries, and monitor progress.

4. The Structure of WHO

The WHO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has six regional offices around the world. These are:
– Africa
– The Americas
– South-East Asia
– Europe
– Eastern Mediterranean
– Western Pacific
The WHO also has country offices in over 150 countries.
The organization is led by a Director-General who is elected by the World Health Assembly for a five-year term. The current Director-General is Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia.
The WHO has a General Assembly which meets once a year to discuss key health topics and set priorities for the organization. The Assembly is made up of all WHO member states and is chaired by the Director-General. The Executive Board is responsible for governing the WHO between sessions of the Assembly. It is made up of 34 members who are elected by the member states for three-year terms. The Secretariat is the main UN agency responsible for providing support to the WHO. It is headed by the Assistant Director-General for Management and takes care of the day-to-day running of the organization.

5. WHO’s Activities

The WHO carries out its work through programmes and departments which focus on specific areas of public health. These include:
– Communicable Diseases: works to prevent, control and eliminate communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
– Noncommunicable Diseases: works to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
– Health Systems: works to strengthen health systems so they can better respond to health emergencies and provide universal health coverage.
– Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health: works to reduce maternal and child mortality rates through programmes such as immunization, family planning and nutrition.
The WHO also has a department devoted to research which carries out studies on a range of health topics in order to inform its policies and programmes. In addition, the WHO provides support to countries in areas such as disease surveillance, immunization programmes, drug control and research funding. The WHO also runs campaigns on specific health issues such as road safety, smoking cessation and HIV prevention.

6. Conclusion

The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. Its main aim is to promote global health by providing leadership on matters concerning public health and setting global norms and standards. The WHO also strives to combat diseases through prevention, treatment and control by working with member countries to set global health standards and providing support in areas such as disease surveillance, immunization programs, drug control and research funding.

FAQ

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.

The main goals of the WHO are to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

The WHO works to achieve its goals by providing leadership on global health issues, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.

The WHO has had a significant impact on global health by raising awareness of important health issues, spearheading international efforts to control and prevent disease outbreaks, and promoting access to essential medicines and vaccines.