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World Health Organization, History, Funding, Contribution & Challenges

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a department of the UN that focuses on public health issues. Its main office, which was founded on April 7th, 1948, is in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a crucial subject for the UPSC exam because it monitors the Covid-19 pandemic. The UPSC Syllabus includes World Health Organization or WHO as a significant topic for UPSC Exam. The UPSC Mock Test can help candidates prepare for the exam with more precision.

World Health Organization History

The offices of the World Health Organization are in Geneva, Switzerland. There are six regional agencies, 150 country offices, and 194 Member States. It collaborates with its member nations through the Ministries of Health, which are intergovernmental organizations.

The WHO takes the lead in matters of global health, directing the direction of health research, establishing norms and standards, outlining evidence-based policy options, offering technical assistance to developing nations, and observing and analyzing health patterns. It started operating on April 7, 1948, which is now observed as World Health Day each year.

World Health Organization Objective

The goal of the World Health Organization is to serve as the overseeing and coordinating body for all foreign health efforts. Its goal is to establish and maintain effective partnerships with the United Nations, specialized organizations, national health agencies, trade associations, and any other organizations considered appropriate. On request, it also seeks to help the governments strengthen their health services. Its objective is to encourage collaboration between academic and professional organizations that advances health.

World Health Organization Funding

WHO receives money primarily from two sources: voluntary contributions from Member States and other partners, as well as assessed contributions from Member States (countries’ membership dues). Assessed contributions (AC) represent a portion of a nation’s GDP. (the percentage is agreed upon by the United Nations General Assembly). At the World Health Assembly every two years, Member States give their approval. Less than 20% of the overall budget is covered by them.

The remaining funding for WHO comes from voluntary contributions (VC), primarily from Member States but also from other UN agencies, intergovernmental bodies, charitable foundations, the business sector, and other sources.

World Health Organization Governance

World Health Assembly

The WHO’s decision-making authority is the World Health Assembly. Delegations from all WHO Member States participate, and it concentrates on a particular health agenda created by the Executive Board. The World Health Assembly’s primary duties include establishing organisational policies, selecting the Director-General, overseeing financial practices, and reviewing and approving suggested program budgets. Annually, the Health Assembly takes place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Executive Board

The 34 members of the Executive Board who are technically competent are chosen for three-year terms. The World Health Assembly’s agenda and the resolutions it will examine are decided upon by the members at the annual Board meeting, which takes place in January. In May, a second, more condensed gathering is held as a result of the Health Assembly. The Board’s primary responsibilities are to carry out the Health Assembly’s choices and policies, as well as to provide advice and generally facilitate its work.

Membership and Associate Membership

Members of the Organization may also be United Nations Members. The Health Assembly may accept territories or groups of territories that are not in charge of managing their international relations as Associate Members.

World Health Organization Contribution

The WHO’s main points of contact with governments are its country offices. They relay government requests and requirements to other levels of WHO, share pertinent international standards and guidelines, and offer professional assistance on health-related issues. They also alert the host government to accounts of disease outbreaks abroad and follow up with them. They offer counsel and direction on public health to local UN agency locations.

The WHO gave a lot of attention to certain infectious diseases that affected millions of people in developing nations during the first decade (1948–1958). These included TB, yaws, malaria, and venereal illnesses. Additionally, the standardization of medications and vaccines, ambient sanitation (especially safe water), and maternal and child health services were given top importance.

The national freedom in Africa of several former colonies—which became voting members of the Organization—had a significant impact on the period (1958 to 1968). When almost all foreign physicians left the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1960, a huge emergency resulted.

The WHO’s third decade (1968–1978) saw a big victory in smallpox eradication. Smallpox was still endemic in 31 countries in 1967, affecting 10 to 15 million individuals worldwide. Teams of public health professionals in all the affected countries carried out the work, with WHO acting as the project’s coordinator and inspiration.

A major international meeting of the WHO and UNICEF was held in Alma Ata, a city in the Asian region of the Soviet Union, to usher in the fourth decade (1978–1988). The Alma Ata conference emphasized the significant significance of primary healthcare, both preventative and curative, as the best strategy for national health policy in response to the overemphasis on high technology.

World Health Organization Challenges

Instead of receiving guaranteed money from nations, the WHO has relied on donations, primarily from wealthy nations and foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a consequence, donors currently decide which programs to fund with 80% of WHO funding. Work programs that are essential to the WHO’s mission are still underfunded because they conflict with the interests of major contributors, particularly those of wealthy and developed nations.

As a result, other intergovernmental organizations like the World Bank and large foundations have progressively taken over WHO’s position as a global health leader. The organization’s effectiveness has been questioned, particularly in light of its subpar response to the 2014 West African ebola epidemic.

World Health Organization UPSC

The indispensable task of integrating global resources falls to the World Health Organization (WHO), the biggest healthcare coordination organization in the world. The only group with such a broad scope is this one. The WHO’s decision-making authority is the World Health Assembly. Delegations from all WHO Member States are present, and it concentrates on a particular health agenda created by the Executive Board. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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World Health Organisation FAQs

What is the purpose of World Health Organization?

WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

What are the 5 functions of WHO?

• Promoting development
• Fostering health security
• Strengthening health systems
• Harnessing research, information and evidence
• Enhancing partnerships

What country is the World Health Organization?

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it has six regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.

WHO is head of the WHO?

Dr Tedros is globally recognized as a health scholar, advocate and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and leadership in emergency responses.

What is the role of WHO in India?

The World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda

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