The world health organization is an agency of the United Nations whose main function is to promote health and control communicable diseases. The Organization was established in 1948 as a specialized agency of the United Nations serving as the directing and coordinating authority for international health matters and public health One of WHO’s constitutional functions is to provide objective and reliable information and advice in the field of human health, a responsibility that it fulfils in part through its extensive programme of publications. The Organization seeks through its publications to support national health strategies and address the most pressing public health concerns of populations around the world. In order to respond to the needs of Member States at all levels of development, WHO publishes practical manuals, handbooks and training material for specific categories of health workers. These books are closely tied to the Organization’s priority activities, encompassing disease prevention and control, the development of equitable health systems based on primary health care, and health promotion for individuals and communities.
Progress towards better health for all also demands the global dissemination and exchange of information that draws on the knowledge and experience of all WHO’s Member countries and the collaboration of world leaders in public health and the biomedical sciences. To ensure the widest possible availability of authoritative information and guidance on health matters, WHO secures the broad international distribution of its publications and encourages their translation and adaptation. By helping to promote and protect health and prevent and control disease throughout the world, WHO’s books contribute to achieving the Organization’s principal objective, the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health.
The world health organization contributes to public health by providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed, shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge, setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation,
articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options, providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity, and monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.
The WHO’s original programs included malaria, women’s and children’s health, tuberculosis, nutrition, and environmental sanitation. It now monitors and coordinates on many other issues, including safety guidelines for genetically modified foods, adaptation to climate change, reducing tobacco and drug abuse, and road safety. It also examines non-health determinants of health such as education, poverty, and infrastructure. Some of the WHO’s most lauded successes (PDF)are fighting infectious diseases, including the design of child vaccination programs, the reduction of the crippling skin disease yaws by about 95 percent by 1964, the eradication of smallpox in 1979, and the reduction of polio cases by about 99 percent by 2006. There is ongoing debate on how best to use WHO resources. CFR Senior Fellow Laurie A. Garrett wrote in 2007 in Foreign Affairs that the global health community needs to move away from a disease-specific focus to improving general health systems.
The World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Control Program (WHO GMP) is the premier body for malaria control guidelines, quality control and technical expertise. In 2006, the WHO GMP demonstrated a tremendous capacity for reform, adapting its policies and tactics to the increasingly complex and demanding nature of malaria control. It issued and effectively publicized revised guidelines for treating malaria and distributing long-lasting insecticidal nets. It further re-established indoor residual spraying with DDT and other insecticides as a critical and necessary means of preventing the spread of malaria. http://www.fightingmalaria.org/issues.aspx?issue=36
The WHO’s constitution states that its objective “is the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health”. WHO identifies its role as one of six main objectives:
* providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed; * shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; * setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation; * articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options; * providing technical support, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and * monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends. The 2012–2013 budget further identified thirteen areas among which funding was distributed.[
WHO addresses government health policy with two aims, firstly, to address the underlying social and economic determinants of health through policies and programmes that enhance health equity and integrate pro-poor, gender responsive, and human rights-based approaches and secondly to promote a healthier environment, intensify primary prevention and influence public policies in all sectors so as to address the root causes of environmental threats to health. In terms of health services, WHO looks to improve governance, financing, staffing and management and the availability and quality of evidence and research to guide policy making. It also strives to ensure improved access, quality and use of medical products and technologies.
Life and lifestyle
WHO works to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve health during key stages of life, including pregnancy, childbirth, the neonatal period, childhood and adolescence, and improve sexual and reproductive health and promote active and healthy aging for all individuals. It also tries to prevent or reduce risk factors for health conditions associated with use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity and unsafe sex. WHO works to improve nutrition, food safety and food security and to ensure this has a positive effect on public health and sustainable development.
WHO works to reduce communicable diseases. In terms of HIV/AIDS, WHO works within the UNAIDS network and considers it important that it works in alignment with UNAIDS objectives and strategies. It also strives to involve sections of society other than health to help deal with the economic and social effects of the disease. Although WHO dropped its commitment to a global malaria eradication campaign in the 1970s as too ambitious, it retains a strong commitment to malaria control. WHO’s Global Malaria Programme works to keep track of malaria cases, and future problems in malaria control schemes. WHO’s help has contributed to a 40% fall in the number of deaths from tuberculosis between 1990 and 2010, and since 2005, it claims that over 46 million people have been treated and an estimated 7 million lives saved through practices advocated by WHO. These include engaging national governments and their financing, early diagnosis, standardising treatment, monitoring of the spread and impact of tuberculosis and stabilising the drug supply. It has also recognised the vulnerability of victims of HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis.
WHO aims to eradicate polio. It has also been successful in helping to reduce cases by 99% since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, which partnered WHO with Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as smaller organizations. It works to immunize young children and prevent the re-emergence of cases in countries declared “polio-free. Non-communicable diseases