World Health Organization

Edit Article
Who icon.jpg


The World Health Organization (WHO), founded in 1948, is an authority within the United Nations that directs and coordinates frameworks that pertain to health. It is responsible for providing 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.[1]

The WHO aims to create equitable access to essential care and provide a collective defense against transnational health threats.[2] Accordingly, the organization contributes to progress through creating cohesive international standards and frameworks that serve to safeguard human health.

Structure and Governance

The World Health-Assembly is the decision-making body of the WHO. It typically meets once a year in Geneva and determines the policies of the organization. Additionally, the Health Assembly appoints the Director-General, supervises the financial policies of the Organization, and reviews and approves the proposed programme budget.[3]

An Executive Board composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health serves to give effect to the decisions and policies generated by the Health Assembly. The Board also advises the Health Assembly and generally functions to facilitate its work.[4]

The Secretariat of the Organization is staffed by approximately 8000 experts as well as a support staff that works on fixed-term appointments.[5]

A Director-General, who is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Executive Board, heads the WHO.[6]

Six-Point Agenda

In order to streamline effective responses to health issues that arise in today's increasingly complex global context, the WHO adheres to a six-point agenda:

  • Promoting development
  • Fostering health security
  • Strengthening health systems
  • Harnessing research, information and evidence
  • Enhancing partnerships
  • Improving performance

World Health Report

The World Health Report is the leading publication produced by the WHO. The report combines an expert assessment of global health and includes statistics that relate to all countries. Its main purpose is to provide countries, donor agencies, international organizations and others with information that will help them make policy and funding decisions.[7] The first World Health Report was published in 1995 and has since been produced on a yearly basis.

See also


External links