WHO (World Health Organization)

What Is WHO?

The World Organization is a specialized organization of the United Nations which is responsible for public health nationally and internationally. its main objective is the attain of good health through all means, for the people. Its headquarters is in located in Geneva, Switzerland, it is spread worldwide, it has about 150 field offices and about 6 regional offices.

This organization was established in 1948 on 7 April. The first ever meeting of this organization was was of the World Health Assembly (WHA) which is the governing body of the WHO, was held on 24 July of that year.
This organization also has a department for new diseases and the cures of the already discovered diseases which was named “The International Classified Of Diseases” (ICD). After the financial and technical resources were handled it began its work 1951.

The WHO’s work includes the advocation of universal health care, monitoring public health risks, responding effectively to health emergencies and promoting health and well-being of everyone. It collects data on global health issues and tries its best to resolve them. The world health report is a publication which contains the worldwide health topics.

The WHO works hard to serve the people internationally and nationally on every crisis of health moment. who has played a major role in achieving cure for many dangerous life risking diseases which include smallpox, polio and the development of Ebola vaccine. It is currently working on HIV/AIDS, covid-19. malaria nd tuberculosis, heart diseases, substance abuse. The agency also has a decision making board of 34 members which are all health specialists. This board selects the director-general, sets up the goals and approves the budget and activities. The current director-general is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia.

The WHO has private donors and contributions of the members of the state for its funding. The budget of 2020 to 2021 is over $7.2 billion, which majorly comes from the members of the state voluntarily. the largest contributors were Germany, the bill and Melinda gates foundation and the United States, these major contributors made 31.68% of the budget of 2020-2021.

WHO’s Origin:

The first of the (ICS) international sanitary conferences were held on 23 June 1851,these were a series of conferences which were held for 87 years from 1851 to 1938.

The first held in Paris was about cholera, which was the major problem in the 19th century. The decisions for many diseases were still uncertain and were a matter of scientific argument, the decisions for international diseases were hard to make. 7 of these international meeting was convened before any result in a multi-state international agreement. The 7th conference which was held in Venice finally resulted a convention in 1892. this meeting was concerned with the control of the spread of cholera and the efforts to guard against the imputation of it.

WHO’S Establishment:

In 1945 the United Nations had a meeting where a Chinese representative presented the idea of the making of an organization that dealt with only the issues of health and not just in a few countries but one for the entire world. At that time this idea was rejected since it didn’t satisfy the members of the meeting but later after failing to get the idea through, the Secretary General of the conference recommended it and presented the idea that using world instead of international would help people understand the goal of the organization better.

So, the constitution of the world health organization signed by all 51 countries of the united state and 10 other countries on 22nd of June 1946. It was the first ever specialized agency that every member subscribed to. Its force formally came into power on 7th April 1948, also called the World Health Day.

Its first meeting was held on 24 July 1948, which presented the fact that the World Health Assembly had secured the $5 million for the budget of 1949. Andrija Štampar became the first president of the assembly. Its first priorities were to control the spread of malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections, and to improve maternal and child health, nutrition and environmental hygiene. Its first act was concerning the accurate statistics on the spread and morbidity of disease. The logo of the World Health Organization features the Rod of Asclepius as a symbol for healing.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Operational History Of WHO:

  1. 3 former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme read the news that smallpox had been globally eradicated in 1980.
  2. 1947: The WHO established an epidemiological information service through telex.
  3. 1950: A mass tuberculosis inoculation drive using the BCG vaccine gets controlled.
  4. 1955: The malaria eradication Programme was launched.
  5. 1958: Viktor Zhdanov, Deputy Minister of Health for the USSR, called on the World Health Assembly to undertake a global initiative to eradicate smallpox which resulted in Resolution WHA.
  6. 1965: The first report on diabetes mellitus and the creation of the International Agency on Cancer.
  7. 1966: The WHO moved its headquarters from the Ariana wing at the Palace of Nations to a newly constructed HQ in Geneva.
  8. 1967: The WHO intensified the global smallpox eradication campaign by contributing $2.4 million annually to the effort and adopted a new disease surveillance method, at a time when 2 million people were dying from smallpox per year. WHO established a network of consultants who assisted countries in setting up surveillance and containment activities. The WHO also helped contain the last European outbreak in Yugoslavia in 1972. After over two decades of fighting smallpox, a Global Commission declared in 1979 that the disease had been eradicated which was the first disease in history to be eliminated by human effort.
  9. 1974: The Expanded Programme on Immunization and the control Programme of onchocerciasis started an important partnership between these organizations which were: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank.
  10. 1975: The WHO launched the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical diseases (the TDR). Co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank, it was established in 1974 to develop improved control of tropical diseases. The TDR’s goals are to support and coordinate international research into diagnosis, treatment and control of tropical diseases and to strengthen research capabilities within endemic countries.
  11. 1976: In the 16th world health assembly presented the idea that the disabled people would be given equal rights and special care.
  12. 1977 and 1978: The first list of essential medicines was drawn up, a year later the goal of “Health For All” was declared.
  13. 1986: The WHO began its global Programme on HIV/AIDS.  Two years later in 1996 the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was formed.
  14. 1988: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed.
  15. 1995: WHO established an independent International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication (Guinea worm disease eradication; ICCDE).  The ICCDE recommends to WHO which countries fulfill the requirements for certification.
  16. 1998: WHO’s Director-General highlighted gains in child survival, reduced infant mortality, increased life expectancy and reduced rates of “scourges” such as smallpox and polio on the 15th anniversary of WHO’s founding. He, did, however, accept that more had to be done to assist maternal health, progress in that area had been slow.
  17. 2000: The Stop TB Partnership was formed with the UN’s formulation of the Millennium Development Goals.
  18. 2001: The measles initiative was formed,  reducing global deaths from the disease by 68% by 2007.
  19. 2002: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was controlled by improved resources available.
  20. 2006: The organization made the world’s first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe, which formed the basis for global prevention, treatment, and the plan to fight the AIDS pandemic.
  21. 2016: Following the failure of the response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the World Health Emergencies Programme was formed, changing the WHO from being a “normative” agency to one that responds operationally to health emergencies.

WHO’s Role In Public Health:

Public health and the role of government - iPleaders

From 2012, the WHO defined its role in public health which is:

providing leadership on critical matters of health and new partnerships where joint action is needed like forming the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation, and dissemination of valuable knowledge, setting norms and standards and providing technical support, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity and monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

CRVS (civil registration and vital statistics) to provide monitoring of vital events (birth, death, wedding, divorce).

Communicable diseases:

Communicable Diseases
The 2012–2013 WHO budget list presented 5 areas among which funding was distributed.  2 of those 5 areas were related to communicable diseases. WHO needed to reduce the “health, social and economic burden” of communicable diseases and to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis particularly.

In 2015, the World Health Organization has worked with the UNAIDS network and tries to help the society in other fields than health to help deal with the economic and social effects of HIV/AIDS. In line with UNAIDS, WHO has set itself with the important task of  reducing the number  15–24 years old’s who are infected by 50% of the new HIV infections and in children by 90%; and reducing HIV-related deaths by 25% in 2005 to 2015.

During the 1970s, WHO had dropped its commitment to a global malaria eradication campaign and it retained a strong commitment to malaria control. WHO’s Global Malaria Programme works to keep track of malaria cases, and future problems in malaria control schemes.

As of 2012, the WHO was to report whether RTS,S/AS01, were a viable malaria vaccine. For the time being, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and insecticide sprays are used to prevent the spread of malaria, as are antimalarial drugs for particularly to vulnerable people such as pregnant women and young children.

Between 1990 and 2010, WHO‘s help has contributed to a 40% reduce in the deaths from tuberculosis, and since 2005, more than 46 million people have been treated and an approximately 7 million lives were saved through practices by WHO. These include engaging of the national governments and their financing help, early diagnosis, standardizing treatment, monitoring of the spread and effect of tuberculosis, and stabilization of the drug supply. It has also seen the weakness of victims of HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis.

In 1988, WHO launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to eliminate polio completely. It has also been successful in helping  reduce cases by 99% since WHO partnered with Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and smaller organizations. As of 2011, it has been working to make young children stronger and prevent the re-emergence of cases in countries declared “polio-free”.

In 2017, a study was done on the topic of Why Polio Vaccines may not be enough to eradicate the Virus. Polio is now on the verge of extinction, thanks to a Global Vaccination Drive. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated the eradication Programme saved millions from the deadly disease.

In 2007, the WHO worked on pandemic influenza vaccine development through clinical trials in collaboration with many experts and health officials. A pandemic involving the H1N1 influenza virus was declared by then, Margret Chan declared in 2010 that the H1N1 has moved into the post-pandemic period. By the post-pandemic period critics claimed the WHO had exaggerated the danger, spreading “fear and confusion” instead of “immediate information”.

Non-communicable diseases:

Frontiers | Management and Prevention Strategies for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Their Risk Factors | Public Health

One of the 13th WHO was aimed at the prevention and reduction or eradication (if possible) of “disease, disability and premature deaths from chronic noncommunicable diseases, mental disorders, violence and injuries, and visual impairment  responsible for almost 71% of all deaths worldwide”.

WHO is under two of the international drug control conventions (Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 and Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971) to carry out scientific tests of substances for international drug control. Through the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), it can change the scheduling of import, export of substances to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The ECDD is in charge of knowing “the impact of psychoactive substances on public health” and “their dependence producing properties and potential harm to health and also knowing their potential medical benefits and therapeutic applications.”

Environmental health:

Environmental Health Watch
The WHO states that 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – this means nearly 1 in 4 deaths were global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water, and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, are the reason f0r more than 100 diseases and injuries. This results in a number of pollution-related diseases.

2018 (30 October – 1 November) :  WHO’s first global conference on air pollution and health (Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives) , was organized in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Life course and life style:

Life Course Theory Patricia J. Settle, MS RD - ppt download
WHO works to “reduce morbidity and mortality and improve health during key stages of life, including pregnancy, childbirth, childhood and adolescence, and improve sexual and reproductive health and promote active and healthy aging for all individuals”.

It tries to reduce risks for “health conditions associated with use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity and unsafe sex”.

The WHO works to improve nutrition, food safety and food security and to ensure this has a positive effect on public health.

In April 2019, the WHO released new recommendations stating that children between the ages of 2 and 5 should spend no more than one hour per day in front of a screen and that children under 2 should not be permitted any  screen time.

Surgery and trauma care:

The Surgical Specialty of Trauma
The World Health Organization promotes road safety as to reduce traffic-related injuries. It has worked on global initiatives in surgery, including emergency and essential surgical care, trauma care, and safe surgery. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is in current use worldwide to improve patient safety.

Emergency work:

What to do when there's a medical emergency on the job – Quill.com Blog
The World Health Organization’s primary objective in natural and man-made emergencies is to coordinate with member states and other stakeholders to “reduce the avoidable loss of life and the burden of disease and disability.”

On 5 May 2014, WHO announced that the spread of polio was a world health emergency – the spread of the disease in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were considered to be “extraordinary”.

On 8 August 2014, WHO declared that the spread of Ebola was a public health emergency; the spreading of this disease was believed to have started in Guinea and had spread to other nearby countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. The situation in West Africa was also considered very serious.

Reform efforts following the Ebola outbreak:

Western African Ebola virus epidemic - Wikipedia
Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the organization was heavily criticized for insufficient financing, its regional structure, and staffing profile.

An internal WHO report on the Ebola response found underfunding the problem and the lack of “core capacity” in health systems in developing countries as the primary weaknesses of the existing system.

At the annual World Health Assembly in 2015, Director-General Margaret Chan announced a $100 million Contingency Fund for quick response to future emergencies, of which it had received $26.9 million by April 2016. WHO has budgeted an additional $494 million for its Health Emergencies Programme in 2016–17, for which it had received $140 million by April 2016.

the purpose of the rebuilding WHO capacity for direct action, which critics said had been lost due to budget cuts in the previous decade that had left the organization in an advisory role dependent on member states for on-the-ground activities. In comparison, billions of dollars have been spent by developed countries on the 2013–2016 Ebola epidemic and 2015–16 Zika epidemic.

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Tech pitches in to fight COVID-19 pandemic | Computerworld
While organizing the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and overseeing “more than 35 emergency operations” for cholera, measles and other epidemics internationally, the WHO was being criticized for praising China’s public health response to the crisis while seeking to maintain a “diplomatic balance act” between the United States and China.

David Heyman, professor of infectious disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that “China has been very transparent and open in sharing its data… and they opened up all of their files with the WHO.”

In terms of health services, WHO works to improve “governance, financing, staffing and management” and the availability and quality of evidence and research to the guide policy. It also works to “ensure improved access, quality and use of medical products and technologies”.  WHO also works with donor agencies and national governments can improve their reporting about use of research evidence.

Digital Health:

How digital healthcare and packaging benefit users | packagingdigest.com
On the Digital Health topics, WHO has existing Inter-Agency collaboration with International Telecommunication Union (the UN Specialized Agency for ICT), including the Be Health, Be Mobile initiate and the ITU-WHO Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence for Health.

Governance and support:

The remaining two of WHO’s 13 identified policy areas relate to the role of WHO itself:

“to provide leadership, strengthen governance and foster partnership and collaboration with countries, the United Nations system, and other stakeholders in order to fulfill the mandate of WHO in advancing the global health agenda”.
“to develop and sustain WHO as a flexible, learning organization, enabling it to carry out its mandate more efficiently and effectively”.

World Health Assembly and Executive Board:

  • WHO Headquarters in Geneva:

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is legislative and supreme body of WHO. Based in Geneva, it meets every year in May. It appoints the director-general after every five years and votes on matters of policy and finance of WHO, including the year’s proposed budget. It also reviews reports of the executive board and decides whether there are areas of work or need for further examination.

The Assembly selects 34 members, qualified in the field of health, to the executive board for three-year terms. The main function of the board is to carry out the decisions and policies of the Assembly, to advise it, and to facilitate its work. As of May 2021, the chairman of the executive board is Dr. Patrick Aamoth of Kenya.

Each regional committee of the WHO consists of all the Health Department heads, in all the governments of the countries that constitute the Region. Aside from electing the regional director, the regional committee is also in charge of setting the guidelines for the implementation, within the region, of the health and other policies adopted by the World Health Assembly. The regional committee also serves as a progress review board for the actions of WHO within the Region.

The regional director is effectively the head of WHO for his/her region. The RD manages and/or supervises a staff of health and other experts at the regional offices and specialized centers. The RD, also the direct supervising authority  with the WHO Director-General – of all the heads of WHO country offices, known as WHO Representatives, within the region.

Medical Society of the World Health Organization (WHO):

Since the start, the WHO has had the Medical Society of the World Health Organization. It has conducted lectures by noted researchers and published findings. The founder, Dr. S. William A. Gunn has been its president. In 1983, Murray Eden was awarded the WHO Medical Society medal, for his work as consultant on research and development for common people.

The contributions are the Member States pay depending on the states’ wealth and population voluntary contributions specified are the funds for specific Programme areas provided by the Member States or other partners. Voluntary contributions are funds for flexible uses provided by the Member States or other people.

WHO’s Financing and partnerships:

Top 10 contributors (Biennium 2018–2019 updated until Q4-2019) M$
No. Contributor Assessed contributions Voluntary contributions specified Core voluntary contributions Total
Share Source:
1. United States of America: 237 656 893 15.9%
2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 531 531 9.4%
3. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: 43 335 57 435 7.7%
4. GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance: 371 371 6.6%
5. Germany: 61 231 292 5.2%
6. Japan: 93 122 214 3.8%
7. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) 192 192 3.4%
8. Rotary International: 143 143 2.5%
9. World Bank: 133 133 2.4%
10. European Commission: 131 131 2.3%
Others: 524 1,484 103 2,289 40.7%
 Total: 957 4,328 161 5,624 100.0%

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