World Health Organization Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

This World Health Organization Essay example is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic, please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

The World Health Organization (WHO), established in 1948 and with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is the United Nations (UN) specialized agency for health. The organization is perhaps best known for its work to prevent and control epidemics like polio, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases. Its constitutional objective is the attainment, for all peoples of the world, of the highest possible level of health. The WHO does not supply health services directly, but rather provides research, advice, training, and funding to assist mainly developing countries to promote health and fight disease.

In terms of structure and processes, the WHO member states appoint delegations to the WHO’s supreme decision-making body, the World Health Assembly. This meets once a year, and as well as appointing the director general, supervises the financial policies of the organization and reviews and approves the proposed global budget. The assembly elects 32 members for three-year terms to an executive board. The main functions of the board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the assembly, to advise it, and generally to facilitate its work. The day-to-day groundwork of WHO is carried out by its secretariat, which is staffed by many thousands of health experts and support staff working in the Geneva headquarters and in the six regional offices.

The WHO member states are grouped into six regions: Africa, the Americas, southeast Asia, Europe and the western Pacific. Each of the six regional offices have a degree of independence. Each is headed by a regional director, while a regional committee for each region sets guidelines for the implementation of all the Health and other policies adopted by the World Health Assembly. The WHO also operates more than 100 country and liaison offices. Each country office includes several health and other experts, as well as various administration staff. The primary functions of WHO country offices include providing leadership and coordination for disaster efforts and being the primary advisor to that country’s government in international health issues.

In addition to coordinating international efforts to monitor outbreaks of infectious disease, the WHO organizes specific and focused programs to combat diseases, such as developing and distributing vaccines. Some have been very successful. In 1979, the WHO was able to declare that, due to its activities, smallpox had been eradicated from the world. This was the first disease in history to be completely eliminated by deliberate human design.

Despite the expertise of its public health professionals, however, the WHO has had the unfortunate reputation of being among the UN’s worst-run institutions. Its medical and financial policies, notably in relation to HIV/AIDS, have been criticized.

In response, WHO has attempted to make its corporate structure more responsive and flexible. It has also revised its health strategy, adopting an expanded and more-inclusive approach to health within the context of human development, humanitarian activities, gender equality, and human rights. In the context of the UN Millennium Goals, it has placed a renewed emphasis on the relationships between poverty reduction and health. The WHO failed, however, to meet its “3 by 5” target-a plan to put 3 million AIDS sufferers on antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005. Progress in meeting its targets within the UN Millennium Goals-notably child mortality and maternal health-have been problematic, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa where public health systems are severely under-resourced or nonexistent.

The WHO publishes statistics and holds comprehensive databases on population health. It also publishes the International Classification of Diseases, which clarifies and universalizes the understanding of disease globally. With regard to research, as well as working with academic collaborating centers based in universities, it both funds and promotes research studies. Meanwhile, it connects with the public through good will ambassadors, the provision of international health information and advice, and events such as World Health Day. As pandemics continue to sweep the developing world and noncommunicable diseases continue to affect the global population, the critical significance of the WHO’s original mission continues to be matched by the challenges it faces.


  1. Gian Luca Burci and Claude-Henri Vignes, World Health Organization (Kluwer Law, 2004);
  2. D. Siddiqi Javed, World Health and World Politics: The World Health Organization and the UN System (University of South Carolina Press, 1995).

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!