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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 16 April, 2020

  • 10 Min Read

WHO and Its Roles

World Health Organization (WHO),

World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health was founded in 1948.

  • Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
  • It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
  • The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
  • It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.

Objectives

  • To act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
  • To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate.
  • To provide assistance to the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
  • To promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.

World Health Assembly

  • The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Members.
  • Each Member is represented by not more than three delegates, one of whom is designated by the Member as chief delegate.
  • These delegates are chosen from among persons most qualified by their technical competence in the field of health, preferably representing the national health administration of the Member.
  • The Health Assembly meets in regular annual session and sometimes in special sessions as well.

Functions

  • The Health Assembly determines the policies of the Organization.
  • It supervises the financial policies of the Organization and reviews and approves the budget.
  • It reports to the Economic and Social Council in accordance with any agreement between the Organization and the United Nations.

The Secretariat

  1. The Secretariat comprises of the Director-General and such technical and administrative staff as the Organization may require.
  2. The Director-General is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Board on such terms as the Health Assembly may determine.

Membership and Associate Membership

  • Members of the United Nations may become Members of the Organization.
  • Territories or groups of territories which are not responsible for the conduct of their international relations may be admitted as Associate Members by the Health Assembly.

WHO and India

  • India became a party to the WHO on 12 January 1948.
  • Regional office for South East Asia is located in New Delhi.

Smallpox

  • In 1967 the total number of smallpox cases recorded in India accounted for nearly 65% of all cases in the world. Of this 26,225 cases died, giving a grim picture of the relentless fight that lay ahead.
  • In 1967, the WHO launched the Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme.
  • With a coordinated effort by Indian government with the World Health Organization (WHO), smallpox was eradicated in 1977.

Polio

  • India began the battle against the disease in response to the WHO’s 1988 Global Polio Eradication Initiative with financial and technical help from World Bank.
  • Polio Campaign-2012: The Indian Government, in partnership with UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contributed to almost universal awareness of the need to vaccinate all children under five against polio.
  • As a result of these efforts, India was removed from the list of endemic countries in 2014.
  • It has also been instrumental in the country’s transition from hospital-based to community-based care and the resultant increase in health posts and centres focusing on primary care.

The WHO Country Cooperation Strategy – India (2012-2017) has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) and the WHO Country Office for India (WCO).

Source: TH


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