WHO (World Health Organization): Intro, Objectives, Finance, Work

7th April, 1948 was the date when World Health Organization (WHO) was constituted. Every year 7th April is celebrated as World Health Day. It is a specialized agency of United Nations responsible for public health. The headquarters of WHO is in Geneva, Switzerland. It has six semi – autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide. Mr. Tedros Adhanom is the current director general of WHO.

How did WHO came into play?

It was 1945, during the United Nations conference, a declaration was passed to create an international health organization. The declaration to constitute such an organization was signed by all 51 countries of United Nations along with other 10 countries on 22nd July 1946 and officially constituted on 7th April 1948. Today, WHO employs 8,500 people worldwide.

Who Governs the WHO?

The WHO is governed through two bodies WHA and Executive Board.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which WHO is governed by its 194 member states. The WHA is responsible for approving the WHO work program, budget and electing the Director – General of WHO.

The first meeting of WHA was held on 24th July 1948 and had secured a budget of US $ 5 million for the year 1949.

The executive board consists of 34 technically qualified members. The main function of the board is to implement the decisions and policies of the WHA and facilitate its work.

What are the objectives of WHO?

The constitution of WHO states its objective has “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health”. It aims to fulfill this objective through different channels.

It works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

The channel consists of team of medical doctors, public health specialists, scientists and epidemiologists, experts in the field of health statistics among others.

The current area of focus of WHO is on

  • Communicable diseases particularly, COVID – 19, HIV/ AIDS, Ebola, Malaria and Tuberculosis
  • Non – Communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  • Healthy diet, nutrition and food security.
  • Occupational Health and Substance abuse.

How WHO is financed?

The WHO is financed mainly through the contribution it receives from its members along with donations from other organizations and private donors. It also works with non – governmental organizations to fulfill its objectives.

Goodwill Ambassadors

  • Alisson Becker, the goal keeper of Brazil and Liverpool football team and his wife Dr. Natalia Loewe Becker, medical doctor and health advocate are the WHO Goodwill Ambassadors for Health Promotion.
  • Ray Chambers, the philanthropist, humanitarian and health advocate, is the WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy.
  • Cynthia Germanotta, a mental health advocate, is WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health.
  • Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Laureate, is WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Health Workforce.

The Regional Headquarters of WHO are as follows:

Region Headquarters
Africa Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
Europe Copenhagen, Denmark
South-East Asia New Delhi, India
Eastern Mediterranean Cairo, Egypt
Western Pacific Manila, the Philippines
The Americas Washington, D.C., United States

It is to be taken on a very serious note that WHO has reported the following data for the coming years:

Dr Catherine Le Galès-Camus

Assistant Director-General for Non communicable Diseases and Mental Health

“Without any action at the right time, almost 400 million people will die from chronic diseases in the next decade. Premature deaths in countries like India, China and Russia are projected to cost billions of dollars over the next 10 years.”