The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a United Nations Specialized Agency that deals with public health issues. It was founded in 1948.
Brief about WHO:
- The headquarters of WHO is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It was established on April 7th, 1948.
- It has 194 Member countries, 150 country offices, 6 regional offices.
- The WHO is headed by its Director-General.
- From the member states, WHO appoint delegates to the World Health Assembly, which is the supreme decision-making body.
- The WHO provides leadership on global health issues, forms the agenda for health science, provides countries with technical assistance.
- World Health day is celebrated on 7th April.
Recent Updates of WHO:
- The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) was formed by the World Health Organisation to assess the world’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- It was adopted in the 73rd World Health Assembly in May 2020.
- US is withdrawing from the WHO.
- India was elected to the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation for three years on May 19, 2020 by the 73rd World Health Assembly.
- On 22 May, Union Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan took office as Chairman of the WHO Executive Board.
- The theme for World Health Day, 2020 was “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”.
Roles of WHO:
- It acts as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
- It maintains and makes collaboration with the United Nations and other appropriate bodies.
- It fosters collaboration between scientific and professional groups that contribute to health advancement.
- It provides assistance upon requests to the Governments in member states in strengthening health services.
- It also helps in setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation.
How WHO is governed?
World Health Assembly:
- The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO.
- It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
- No more than three delegates shall be represented by each Member, one of whom shall be designated by the Member as the Chief Delegate.
- The World Health Assembly meets in regular annual sessions and occasionally even in special sessions.
Functions of World Health Assembly:
- The World Health Assembly appoints the Director-General of WHO.
- It determine the policies of the Organisation.
- It supervise financial policies.
- World Health Assembly also reviews and approves the proposed programme budget.
- It shall report to the Economic and Social Council in compliance with any agreement between the Organisation and the United Nations.
- The Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms.
- The annual Board meeting is held in January when the members agree upon the agenda for the World Health Assembly and the resolutions to be considered by the Health Assembly.
- As a follow-up to the Health Assembly, a second, shorter meeting takes place in May.
Function of Executive Board:
- The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly.
- It advises to facilitate its work.
- The Secretariat comprises of the Director-General of WHO.
- The current Director-General of WHO is Tedros Adhanom, who was appointed on 1 July 2017.
Function of the Secretariat:
- Secretariat is committed to ensure unique opportunity to address the social, economic and political determinants of health.
- The secretariat is also committed to improve the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.
Contribution of WHO to the world:
- In 1948, WHO developed epidemiological information service via telex.
- By 1950, a mass tuberculosis inoculation drive using the BCG vaccine was under way.
- In 1950, the malaria eradication program was launched.
- In 1967, WHO intensified the global smallpox eradication campaign.
- In 1974, programme on Immunization and the control programme of onchocerciasis was started by partnering FAO and UNDP.
- In 1986, WHO started its global programme on HIV/AIDS.
- In 1988, Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established.
- In 2001, measles program was developed and credited with a 68 percent reduction in global deaths from the disease by 2007.
Contribution of WHO to the India:
- India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948.
- WHO helped India fight smallpox by launching Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme.
- WHO’s 1988 Global Polio Eradication Initiative with financial and technical help from World Bank to India helped to fight Polio.
- The headquarter of WHO Country Office (WCO) is in New Delhi.
- The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) of WHO contribute to improving health and equity in the country.
- The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare of India launched National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria.
Challanges to World Health Organisation:
- Instead of a secure funding channel, the WHO is largely dependent on donor funds.
- Typically the organisation get funds from economically well-developed countries and organisations such as the Melinda Gates Foundation.
- As a consequence, much of the funding from the WHO for vital services remains on the back burner, as some of these programs often conflict with donor desires.
- WHO has been questioned for the horrific handling of very recent 2019-2020 coronavirus outbreak.
- In particular, the organisation’s efficacy has also been questioned because of its horrific management of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
- From this incident, the position of the WHO as a global health leader has been replaced by other intergovernmental organisations.
- It all happened due to the inadequate financing, structuring, personnel and bureaucracy of WHO.
Objectives of World Health Organisation:
WHO is actively working to make this planet healthy. The fields on which it is working has been mentioned below.
- Air pollution and Climate Change.
- Communicable diseases
- Noncommunicable Diseases
- Environmental health
- Life course and life style
- Surgery and trauma care
- Emergency work
- Reform efforts following the Ebola outbreak
- Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Health policy
- Digital Health
Questions Related To World Health Organisation:
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