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World Health Organization

Definition/Scope: (JP 3-08) The World Health Organization (WHO) is an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations health system headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO's objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” WHO was given its mandate as the UN's specialized agency for international health work in 1946, with a constitution that took effect on 7 April 1948. That date is now commemorated each year as World Health Day. WHO's main constitutional functions include: (1) to act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work; (2) to ensure valid and productive technical cooperation for health among member states; (3) to promote research. WHO's responsibilities include the following: (1) to assist governments, upon request, in strengthening health services; (2) to establish and maintain such administrative and technical services as may be required, including epidemiological and statistical services; (3) to provide information, counsel, and assistance in the field of health; (4) to stimulate the eradication of epidemic, endemic, and other diseases; (5) to promote improved nutrition, housing, sanitation, working conditions, and other aspects of environmental hygiene; (6) to promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the enhancement of health; (7) to propose international conventions and agreements on health matters; (8) to promote and conduct research in the field of health; (9) to develop international standards for food, biological, and pharmaceutical products; (10) to assist in developing an informed public opinion among all peoples on matters of health. It has six Regional Offices and they are: (1) Africa (Regional Office for Africa; Brazzaville, Congo). (2) Americas (Regional Office for the Americas/Pan American Health Organization; Washington, DC). (3) South-East Asia (Regional Office for South-East Asia; New Delhi, India). (4) Europe (Regional Office for Europe; Copenhagen, Denmark). (5) Eastern Mediterranean (Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean; Alexandria, Egypt). (6) Western Pacific (Regional Office for the Western Pacific; Manila, Philippines). WHO operates in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing landscape. The boundaries of public health action have become blurred, extending into other sectors that influence health opportunities and outcomes. WHO responds to these challenges using a six-point agenda. The six points address two health objectives, two strategic needs, and two operational approaches. The points are: promoting development; fostering health security; strengthening health systems; harnessing research, information and evidence; enhancing partnerships; and improving performance.



Broader Terms:

United Nations

Narrower Terms:

civil affairs
Humanitarian Assistance

Related Terms:

Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)
Army Medical Department
Civil Military Operation
health care
humanitarian aid
Noncombatant Evacuation Operation
peace operation
public health
travel warnings
world health

CALL Homepage >> Thesaurus Last Updated: Sept 17, 2008