World Health Organization History

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World Health Organization History

Introduction to World Health Organization History

The idea for a global health agency was proposed in 1945 at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco, California, to complete a charter for the UN. Following several more gatherings, the UN approved WHO’s charter on April 7, 1948.

The organization’s first programs were directed at fighting smallpox, plague, yellow fever, cholera, and malaria. The programs also expanded immunizations for measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, tuberculosis, and polio.

WHO’s global campaign to eliminate smallpox began in 1967 with the organization launching mass vaccination programs in many developing countries. By 1972 incidence of the disease was restricted to only a handful of nations in Africa and southern Asia. In 1979 WHO reported that smallpox had been eradicated worldwide.

In the 1980s WHO launched programs to eradicate polio and leprosy, and it began to fight the spread of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In 1996, in response to an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Zaire, it established a division to fight emerging viral and bacterial diseases. In 2003 WHO was credited for organizing a rapid worldwide response to contain the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome. ” (1)


Notes and References

Guide to World Health Organization History

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