World Health Organization A History

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・6 Sources

The United Nations was established after the Second World War to avoid the recurrence of conflict in the world; it is an organization whose primary role is the promotion of international cooperation and the creation and maintenance of international order. Various agencies and organizations have been formed under the United Nations to be able to perform its mandate. One agency that we deal with is the world health organization. The organizations centers its operations on public health internationally, it was founded in 1946 July 22 with its headquarters in Geneva Switzerland.  During The United Nations conference on international organization that was held in 1945 Szeming Sze a Chinese delegate conversed with Norwegian and Brazilian delegates in creating an organization that will focus on health under the United Nations, they failed to get the resolution passed.  Alger Hiss who was the secretary general of the conference suggested that a declaration should be used to establish such an organization that had been suggested.

The organization was established mainly to serve as an authority that directs and coordinates matters concerning international and public health. The constitution of the organization was signed on July 22, 1946, and came into force on April 7, 1948, on the world health day with its first meeting being held on July 24, 1948 (organisation, 2017). The world health organization operates under four main functions which include providing a global guidance in health, setting global standards for health, cooperating with governments with the aim of strengthening health programs nationally and transferring and developing the right technology related to health, standards, and information.

The main purpose of the world health organization is that all people can be able to attain the highest possible health level. The goals of WHO is the improvement of health equity, reduction of health risks, promotion of healthy lifestyles and responding to the determinants of health. World health organization has a current membership of 194 member states.

The current director general of the organization is Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, he has held the office since 2017 previously working in the Ethiopian government. He was elected as the director general of the organization during the world health assembly on May 23, 2017, serving a five-year term from July 1, 2017 (Boseley, 2017). As the new head of the department, you will be required to visit the world health organization from the 23rd of January to the 26th of January 2017 in Geneva Switzerland. The meeting will familiarize you with the organization, and you will be able to see and understand what the organization does on a daily basis. You will be given an hour to meet with the director general where you will ask him questions such as what are the significant challenges of the organization and how he is addressing them. The specific things that he feels need to be reformed in the organization, his plan for dealing with the financing problem and how he will deal with the earmarking issues in the organization.

The director general is responsible for hiring 8500 in all the countries that the organization operates. Staff members are drawn from all fields with an emphasis being on members in the health-related sector. The world health organization, however, does not employ cigarette smokers since it supports the tobacco-free work environment principle (Organisation, 2017). WHO also has goodwill ambassadors who include members from sports arts or other public life-related fields who draw attention to the projects and initiatives that are carried out in the organization.

The world health organization is funded by what the member states contribute and outside donors. For countries to become member states, there is an amount that they are supposed to pay. The amount is arrived at by calculating the country’s population and wealth, this type of contribution is referred to as the assessed contribution. The organization is also funded by voluntary contributions from the member states and other partners. The budget of the organization in the 2016-2017 year is 3,194.3 million us dollars from categories one to six and 1,190.6 million us dollars for OCR, TDR polio, and HRP programs (Organization, 2015). The United States is an assessed contributor to the organization and is usually the top contributor giving a total of 110 million us dollars as of 2012. The United States has a significant influence on the organization especially since it is one of the highest donors for the organization, it, however, does not have an enormous impact on voting since member states are provided equal voting rights in the organization.

The organization’s recent achievements include vaccinations that have been carried out in countries such as in Brazil where yellow fever vaccination was carried out, Yemen where children were vaccinated, and in Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin. The organization supports the Boma health initiative in South Sudan. In March 2017 WHO airlifted ambulances that were fully equipped to Iraq. Mental health services were also expanded in the Syrian Arab Republic. WHO admitted to failures such as being ill-prepared to respond to the Ebola crisis (Reuters, 2015). The international agency for research on cancer which is a sub-department of WHO has been criticized on how it analyses substances and activities as the cause of cancer. Taiwan has been barred by China from being a member of WHO. The organization has also been criticized for its travel expenses which are very high.

Future plans for world health organization include reforms in the organization, covering health universally, improving on emergency response, focusing on marginalized members of communities that include children, women and adolescents and focusing on climate and environmental change. WHO is known to be very effective in all the programs and activities that it undertakes.


Boseley, S. (2017, may 23). who-elects-first-ever-african-director-general-after-tense-vote-tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus. Retrieved from

Luard, E. (2016). A History of the United Nations: Volume 2: The Age of Decolonization, 1955–1965. springer

Organisation, w. h. (2017). emergencies/achievements/en/. Retrieved from

Organisation, W. H. (2017). Retrieved december 20, 2017

Organization, W. H. (2015). World health statistics 2015. World Health Organization, 2015.

Reuters. (2015, APRIL 20). life-style/health/world-health-organization-admits-failed-handling-ebola-article-1.2191334. Retrieved from

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