World Health Organization

Coordinates: 46°13′56″N 06°08′03″E / 46.23222°N 6.13417°E / 46.23222; 6.13417

World Health Organization
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
World Health Organization Logo.svg
AbbreviationWHO
Pronunciation
Formation7 April 1948 (1948-04-07)
TypeUnited Nations specialized agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Head
Tedros Adhanom
(Director-General)
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Budget
$7.96 billion (2020–2021)
Websitewww.who.int
WHO Rod.svg Medicine portal
A coloured voting box.svg Politics portal

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.[1] The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency's governing structure and principles, states its main objective as "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health".[2] It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.

The WHO was established by constitution on 7 April 1948,[3] which is commemorated as World Health Day.[4] The first meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the agency's governing body, took place on 24 July 1948. The WHO incorporated the assets, personnel, and duties of the League of Nations' Health Organization and the Office International d'Hygiène Publique, including the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).[5] Its work began in earnest in 1951 following a significant infusion of financial and technical resources.[6]

The WHO's broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being.[7] It provides technical assistance to countries, sets international health standards and guidelines, and collects data on global health issues through the World Health Survey. Its flagship publication, the World Health Report, provides expert assessments of global health topics and health statistics on all nations.[8] The WHO also serves as a forum for summits and discussions on health issues.[1]

The WHO has played a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vaccine. Its current priorities include communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, Ebola, COVID-19, malaria and tuberculosis; non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer; healthy diet, nutrition, and food security; occupational health; and substance abuse. As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, the WHA, composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the agency's supreme decision-making body. It also elects and advises an executive board made up of 34 health specialists. The WHA convenes annually and is responsible for selecting the director-general, setting goals and priorities, and approving the WHO's budget and activities. The current director-general is Tedros Adhanom, former health minister and foreign minister of Ethiopia, who began his five-year term on 1 July 2017.[9]

The WHO relies on contributions from member states (both assessed and voluntary) and private donors for funding. Its total approved budget for 2020–2021 is over $7.2 billion, of which the majority comes from voluntary contributions from member states.[1][10] Contributions are assessed by a formula that includes GDP per capita. Among the largest contributors were Germany (which contributed 12.18% of the budget), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (11.65%), and the United States (7.85%).[11]

  1. ^ a b c Jan 24, Published; 2019 (24 January 2019). "The U.S. Government and the World Health Organization". The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "WHO Constitution, BASIC DOCUMENTS, Forty-ninth edition" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 April 2020.
  3. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION" (PDF). Basic Documents. World Health Organization. Forty-fifth edition, Supplement: 20. October 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  4. ^ "History". www.who.int. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Milestones for health over 70 years". www.euro.who.int. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. ^ "World Health Organization | History, Organization, & Definition of Health". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  7. ^ "What we do". www.who.int. Archived from the original on 17 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  8. ^ "WHO | World health report 2013: Research for universal health coverage". WHO. Archived from the original on 15 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Dr Tedros takes office as WHO Director-General". World Health Organization. 1 July 2017. Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  10. ^ "WHO | Programme Budget Web Portal". open.who.int. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  11. ^ "European governments working with U.S. on plans to overhaul WHO, health official says". The Globe and Mail Inc. Reuters. 19 June 2020. Archived from the original on 20 June 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.