World Health Organization

World Health Organization (WHO), specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1948, with its headquarters at Geneva. WHO admits all sovereign states (including those not belonging to the United Nations) to full membership, and it admits territories that are not self-governing to associate membership. There are 193 member nations. WHO is governed by the World Health Assembly, consisting of representatives of the entire membership, which meets once a year in Geneva; an executive board of 34 health experts elected by the World Health Assembly; and a secretariat headed by a director-general. There are regional organizations in Africa, the E Mediterranean, SE Asia, Europe, the W Pacific, and the Americas. WHO is authorized to issue global health alerts and take other measures to prevent the international spread of health threats. The agency worked to eradicate smallpox, has made notable strides in checking polio, leprosy, cholera, malaria, and tuberculosis, has taken the lead within the UN community on matters related to HIV/AIDS, and sponsors medical research on tropical and other diseases. WHO also has drafted conventions for preventing the international spread of disease, such as sanitary and quarantine requirements, and for reducing smoking, and has given attention to the problems of environmental pollution.

See C. F. Brockington, World Health (1958); M. C. Morgan, Doctors to the World (1958); G. Mikes, The Riches of the Poor: A Journey Round the World Health Organization (1988); P. Wood, ed., World Health Organization; A Brief Summary of Its Work (1989); J. Siddiqi, World Health and World Politics (1995); G. L. Burci and C.-H. Vignes, World Health Organization (2004); K. Lee, The World Health Organization (2008).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

National Health Systems of the World: The Issues
Milton I. Roemer.
Oxford University Press, vol.2, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "The World Health Organization and Its Works" begins on p. 313
The Future of the World Health Organization: What Role for International Law?
Fidler, David P.
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 31, No. 5, November 1998
Health Promotion Theory
Maggie Davies; Wendy Macdowall.
Open University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "WHO and International Initiatives"
The United States and Multilateral Institutions: Patterns of Changing Instrumentality and Influence
Margaret P. Karns; Karen A. Mingst.
Routledge, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Eight "The United States and the World Health Organization"
Cross-Cultural Rehabilitation: An International Perspective
Ronnie Linda Leavitt.
W. B. Saunders, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps (ICIDH): A Universal Framework"
Social Policy and Health Care
Kevin Gormley.
Churchill Livingstone, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "The World Health Organization" begins on p. 181
Understanding Global Security
Peter Hough.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "World Health Organization" begins on p. 163
The United Nations System and Its Predecessors
Hans von Mangoldt; Volker Rittberger.
Oxford University Press, vol.I, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Document 119: Constitution of the World Health Organization 22 July 1946 (as amended on 12 May 1986)" begins on p. 1042
Addressing Global Health: WHO Confronts AIDS, Drugs, and the Future of Health
Harvard International Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, Summer 2004
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