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World Health Organization (WHO)

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. Established on April 7, 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the WHO plays a crucial role in coordinating and promoting global health efforts.

  • Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, and six regional offices.
  • It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
  • The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, 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.
  • It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.

Here are some key points about the World Health Organization:

  1. Mission and Purpose:
    • The WHO’s mission is to promote and protect global health, provide leadership on international health matters, shape health research agendas, set norms and standards, and provide technical support to countries.
  2. Member States:
    • The WHO is composed of 194 member states, making it one of the largest specialized agencies of the United Nations.
    • Membership is open to all nations and is not restricted by geographical location or political alignment.
  3. Leadership and Governance:
    • The highest decision-making body of the WHO is the World Health Assembly (WHA), which consists of representatives from member states and meets annually to set policies and approve budgets.
    • The WHO is led by the Director-General, who is appointed by the WHA and serves a five-year term. The Director-General is responsible for overall administration and management.
  4. Functions and Activities:
    • Disease Prevention and Control: The WHO plays a critical role in controlling and preventing the spread of diseases, including pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and more recently, COVID-19.
    • Health Systems Strengthening: The WHO supports countries in developing and strengthening their healthcare systems, including infrastructure, workforce, and access to essential medicines.
    • Emergency Response: The organization coordinates responses to health emergencies and provides technical expertise and resources to manage outbreaks, disasters, and other crises.
    • Research and Data Collection: The WHO conducts and supports health research, compiles health data and statistics, and disseminates information to guide evidence-based policies.
    • International Health Regulations: The WHO sets international health regulations to prevent the international spread of diseases, requiring member states to report certain public health events to the organization.
  5. Global Health Initiatives:
    • The WHO leads and supports various global health initiatives, such as vaccination campaigns, maternal and child health programs, and efforts to combat non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  6. Partnerships:
    • The WHO collaborates with other international organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the private sector to address complex health challenges.
  7. Health Equity and Social Determinants:
    • The WHO advocates for health equity and focuses on addressing social determinants of health, such as poverty, education, and access to clean water and sanitation.
  8. Funding:
    • The WHO’s primary source of funding comes from contributions by member states and voluntary contributions from other sources, including philanthropic organizations.

The WHO’s role in global health is essential, as it provides a framework for international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and collective action to improve health and well-being worldwide.


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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

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