World Health Organisation(WHO) – Specialized Agency

The World Health Organization(WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations(UN) that is concerned with international public health. Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.

The constitution of the World Health Organization had been signed by all 69 countries of the United Nations by 22 July 1946, with the first meeting of the World Health Assembly finishing on 24 July 1948.

WHO’s Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as “World Health Day.”
The Organization is headed by the Director-General, who is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Executive Board. The current Director-General is Margaret Chan, who was first appointed on 9 November 2006 and confirmed for a second term until the end of June 2017.

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It generally meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the Organization.

The Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year terms. The Board meets at least twice a year; the main meeting is normally in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly.

Regional offices of World Health Organisation(WHO)

Region                                                                     Headquarters
Africa                                                                    Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
Europe                                                                 Copenhagen, Denmark
South – East Asia                                            New Delhi, India
Eastern Mediterranean                                Cairo, Egypt
Western Pacific                                               Manila, Philippines
The America                                                     Washington D.C., USA

Functions of World Health Organisation(WHO)

WHO fulfils its objectives through its core functions:

  • Providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
  • Shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
  • Setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
  • Articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
  • Providing technical support, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and
  • Monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

Objective of World Health Organisation(WHO)

WHO fulfils its objective through its functions as defined in its Constitution:

  • To act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work;
  • To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations
  • To assist Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services;
  • To furnish appropriate technical assistance and, in emergencies, necessary aid upon the request or acceptance of Governments;
  • To provide or assist in providing, upon the request of the United Nations, health services and facilities to special groups, such as the peoples of trust territories;
  • To stimulate and advance work to eradicate epidemic, endemic and other diseases;
  • To promote, in co-operation with other specialized agencies where necessary, the prevention of accidental injuries;
  • To promote, in co-operation with other specialized agencies where necessary, the improvement of nutrition, housing, sanitation, recreation, economic or working conditions and other aspects of environmental hygiene;
  • To propose conventions, agreements and regulations, and make recommendations with respect to international health matters and to perform.

The WHO’s Constitution states that its objective “is the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health”.

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