We explain what the World Health Organization is, how it was founded and its objectives. In addition, its characteristics and structure.

WHO is dedicated to the management, promotion and application of health policies.

What is the WHO?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is an international organization belonging to the United Nations (UN)which is dedicated to the management, promotion and application of health policies and disease prevention throughout the world.

Together with other international humanitarian aid organizations, WHO is part of the world authorities on health, capable of recommending practices, prohibiting or discouraging the consumption of food, drugs, etc. In this sense, the WHO usually sets short, medium and long-term goals and encourages the countries in which it has a presence to achieve them, for the good of future generations.

See also: NATO

WHO Foundation

The OMS was founded on April 7, 1948.

In the years after World War II Numerous cooperation organizations between nations were founded.

The goal of these organizations, including the WHO, was to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

The day of its foundation International Health Day is celebrated every year.

WHO history

The WHO officially eradicated smallpox in 1979.

The first WHO meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, where today it has its official headquarters. He inherited from the extinct League of Nations and the International Office of Public Health a series of tasks, ranging from the control of epidemics to the standardization of the use of medicinal drugs.

One of the first tasks of the WHO was the eradication of smallpox, a goal officially achieved in 1979. He also made significant advances in the fight against leprosy, cholera, polio, malaria, and tuberculosis.

WHO goals

The fundamental basic objective of WHO is achieve the highest possible level of health guaranteed to all citizens of the world. In this sense, health is understood as a state of physical, mental and social well-being.

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On the other hand, the WHO Update your short and medium range targets from time to time, which is currently summarized in the 5 Millennium Development Goals:

  • Strengthen the different health systems of the world, and especially in the developing world.
  • Ensure that health occupies a privileged place in the health policies of the countries.
  • Establish health strategies that respond to the diverse and changing needs of the countries.
  • Mobilize greater resources for the health sector in the countries of the undeveloped world.
  • Improve strategies for measuring and collecting health data around the world.

WHO functions

The WHO sets international health standards and enforces them.

WHO pursues its objectives through various core functions, such as:

  • Offer leadership on crucial health issues around the world and participate and propose health alliances when necessary.
  • Determine the most relevant lines of research today and stimulate the production, dissemination and application of knowledge in the area.
  • Establish international health standards and ensure compliance.
  • Formulate political principles that allow linking scientific development with its ethical and responsibility aspects.
  • Closely monitor the global health situation and warn of new dangers and risks.

WHO activities

who org health activities
The WHO has care programs for communities in vulnerable situations.

WHO carries out various activities throughout the world. On the one hand, it is dedicated to health education and reproductive health. In this sense, the prevention and eradication of HIV/AIDS is one of its priorities.

Secondly, It has programs for the attention of communities in situations of health vulnerability, epidemic prevention and humanitarian aid.

For it has about 7,000 employees in more than 150 offices other than the WHO at the global level. In addition, it relies on the joint efforts of the various countries that make up the organization.

Some of its prevention programs are concerned with controlling and reducing eating patterns, consumption and life that lead to lethal diseases. These include cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and chronic pneumonia.

WHO Institutional Structure

The OMS works by coordinating the initiatives of the different member countries at the World Health Assembly. This group meets annually in May and has the ability to establish financial policies for the organization, approve the budgets of each program.

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Besides, the Assembly elects its own authorities. They make up the Executive Council, made up of 34 technical members from the health field, whose mandate lasts three years.

The day-to-day bureaucratic work of WHO is carried out by the organization’s Secretariat. It’s formed by about 5,000 workers, including health workers and experts. In addition, it includes support staff in all WHO offices around the world.

WHO regional offices

The WHO regional office for Europe is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

WHO has six regional offices through which it manages its efforts in various geographic locations around the world, each with a specific area of ​​action:

  • Regional Office for Africa (AFRO). Headquartered in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, it serves most of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Regional Office for Europe (EURO). Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and serving all European countries.
  • Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO). Headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, it includes the Maghreb region, Somalia, as well as all the countries in the Middle East.
  • Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO). Headquartered in Manila, Philippines, it serves Asian countries that are not in SEARO and EMRO, as well as all of Oceania and South Korea.
  • Regional Office for South East Asia (SEARO). Based in New Delhi, India where Asian countries not served by WPRO and EMPRO are covered, including North Korea.
  • Regional Office for the Americas (AMRO). Headquartered in Washington, USA, also known as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it serves the entire American continent.

Why is the WHO criticized?

The WHO has been strongly criticized for his signing of certain agreements with the Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Those agreements place limitations on it disclosing information and taking action to prevent disasters like the one that occurred in Japan in 2011.

This led to the creation of an NGO called For the independence of the WHO that constantly denounces the limitations of the organization before the interests of the “nuclear lobby”. These include denying proper medical care to victims of atomic catastrophes.

Why is WHO important?

WHO has a large budgetary capacity.

The WHO is a vital institution in the global coordination of efforts to improve health of the human species. Its international presence, its budgetary capacity (unmatched among institutions in the field) and its international acceptance make it a benchmark in health and medical matters.

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Countries that make up the WHO

The WHO has 192 Member States:

  • In Africa. Angola, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Prince, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Togo, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • In America. Canada, Cuba, USA, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua , Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • In Europe. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland , San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Macedonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Estonia, Russia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.
  • Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen.
  • Southeast Asia. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Timor-Leste.
  • eastern pacific. Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Philippines, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Nauru, Mongolia, Micronesia, Niue, South Korea , Laos, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.


  • “World Health Organization” on Wikipedia.
  • “WHO” in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation.
  • “Role of WHO in Public Health” on the Official WHO Portal.
  • “WHO (World Health Organization): history and functions” in Living Health.
  • WHO Official Portal: http://www.who.int/es.
  • “History of the World Health Organization” on Clinic Cloud.
  • “World Health Organization” in The Encyclopedia Britannica.

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