What Is the History and Purpose of the World Health Organization?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for the international public health. The WHO was established on April 7, 1948, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization’s primary objective is to ensure that all people have access to high-quality health services without facing financial risk.

The History of the World Health Organization

The idea of establishing an international health organization was first proposed in 1851 by the French physician and public health pioneer, Charles-Francois Dupuytren. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the WHO was officially founded.

In 1945, the UN was established to maintain international peace and security. One year later, a conference was held in New York to establish what would become known as the WHO. At this conference, representatives from 61 countries signed the WHO Constitution.

The WHO Constitution defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The constitution also outlined the organization’s goals, which included promoting and protecting health worldwide and coordinating international efforts to control epidemics and other diseases.

The Purpose of the World Health Organization

The purpose of the WHO is to promote global health by collaborating with governments and other organizations around the world. The organization’s primary functions include:

1. Providing leadership – The WHO sets global standards for healthcare systems and policies. It provides guidance on issues such as disease control, nutrition, maternal and child health, and mental health.

2. Conducting research – The WHO conducts research on various diseases and their prevention methods. It also collects data on global health trends to inform policy decisions.

3. Providing technical assistance – The WHO provides technical assistance to countries that request help with developing and implementing healthcare policies and programs.

4. Developing partnerships – The WHO collaborates with governments, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to achieve its goals.

The Achievements of the World Health Organization

Since its establishment, the WHO has made significant contributions to global health. Some of its most notable achievements include:

1. Smallpox eradication – In 1980, the WHO declared smallpox eradicated. This was the first disease to be eradicated through vaccination.

2. Polio eradication – The WHO has led efforts to eradicate polio worldwide. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has decreased by 99%.

3. Measles vaccination campaign – The WHO launched a global measles vaccination campaign in 2000, which has helped to reduce measles deaths by 73%.

  • In conclusion, the World Health Organization was established in 1948 to promote global health by collaborating with governments and other organizations worldwide.
  • The organization’s primary functions include providing leadership, conducting research, providing technical assistance, and developing partnerships.
  • The WHO has made significant contributions to global health through its efforts to eradicate smallpox and polio, as well as its measles vaccination campaign.