The World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for international health work. Established in 1948, the WHO works to enhance global health equity and access to healthcare, and to combat major diseases and public health threats. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the WHO is the leading international organization responsible for international health cooperation.

Mission and Objectives:

The WHO’s mission is to "ensure the highest possible level of health for all." Its objectives include:

  • Strengthening health systems
  • Combating infectious diseases
  • Promoting and protecting health
  • Expanding access to essential medicines and vaccines
  • Improving maternal health and child survival
  • Combating maternal and neonatal mortality
  • Addressing the underlying determinants of health and disease

Structure and Governance:

The WHO is governed by the 194 member states who meet every year at the World Health Assembly. The Assembly elects a 19-member Executive Board that meets every year to oversee the work of the WHO between sessions of the Assembly.

Activities and Achievements:

The WHO plays a vital role in various areas of global health, including:

  • Developing and distributing vaccines and medicines
  • Promoting healthy aging
  • Addressing antimicrobial resistance
  • Ensuring access to clean water and sanitation
  • Conducting research on diseases and health innovations
  • Providing technical assistance to member states

Recent Initiatives:

The WHO has several ongoing initiatives to tackle major health challenges, such as:

  • COVID-19 Response: Leading the global response to the pandemic, including vaccine development and equitable distribution
  • Health Equity Agenda: Addressing the unequal distribution of healthcare and health outcomes
  • Agenda 2030: Sustainable development goals for health and well-being
  • Universal Health Coverage: Ensuring access to quality healthcare for everyone


1. What is the purpose of the WHO?

The WHO’s purpose is to improve global health equity and access to healthcare, and to combat major diseases and public health threats.

2. How is the WHO funded?

The WHO is funded by assessments paid by its member states, along with donations from governments, private organizations, and individuals.

3. What are the main areas of focus for the WHO?

The WHO focuses on various areas of health, including disease prevention, treatment, and control, health systems strengthening, and health promotion.

4. How many member states are there in the WHO?

There are 194 member states in the WHO.

5. Where is the WHO headquartered?

The WHO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.


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