World Health Organization

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World Health Organization

Public Health Public Health Agencies

Introduction to World Health Organization

On an international scale, public health is overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO manages international disease prevention and control efforts, and is involved in training medical personnel, educating world populations about public health issues including widespread diseases, nutrition, population control, and the benefits of environmental sanitation. WHO and all of its programs are funded by United Nations membership dues and contributions, and voluntary donations from public and private sources.

In the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees public health and welfare throughout the nation. It is funded by American citizens through taxes. The Public Health Service, which is part of HHS, is the main federal agency concerned with public health. The Public Health Service is divided into several individual agencies that specialize in different aspects of public health. The National Institutes of Health, the medical research arm of the Public Health Service, conducts biomedical research and maintains 25 institutes and centers of health and the National Library of Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors and prevents outbreaks of diseases, maintains national health statistics, and administers many of the public immunization programs in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assures the safety of food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and medical devices through legislation and licensing programs.

Each state in the United States has its own department of health and most local communities have a city or county health department as well. State and regional public health departments work with national agencies to administer public health programs. Other government agencies, such as environmental protection departments, also may have some responsibilities for public health. Hundreds of private or voluntary health organizations contribute to overall community health by educating the public about good health practices and prevention of heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.

Although most industrialized countries follow this general pattern for administration of public health services, there are individual variations. In the United States, for instance, social welfare programs, such as financial aid to poor families, are separate from public health, while in the United Kingdom, health and welfare services are combined. Differences also exist in public health financing. The United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and most other industrialized countries have national health systems that provide free individualized medical care as well as public health services. In the United States, most public health services are provided by the government without charge, but individual medical care is primarily paid for by individuals or by health insurance.

Developing countries usually have small, poorly financed public health services. In many of the world’s poorest countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, there is less distinction between public health and routine individual medical care. A national ministry of health usually provides all health services through a system of regional health centers. Regional medical officers administer medical programs in each region, overseeing populations of about 100,000 people. Health centers, staffed by nonphysicians with medical training, often serve populations of 10,000 to 20,000 people dispersed throughout many villages. Some villages have health outposts called dispensaries, where villagers can go for medicine, vaccinations, and other basic medical services. But many medical services readily available in the industrialized world, such as high-tech diagnostic tests or expensive medicines, are not available in developing countries.” (1)

World Health Organization (who) (in the Human Development Area)

In this context, World Health Organization (who) means:

is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing 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. Uzbekistan joined WHO in 1992, and the Country Office was established in 1995.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization, abbreviated as WHO, is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating body on public health issues

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO’s main task is to fight disease, especially key infectious diseases, and provide leadership on global health matters.

World Health Organization

Embracing mainstream international law, this section on world health organization explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.

World Health Organization (WHO)

This section provides an overview of world health organization (who) within the legal context of Institutions Related to International Economic Law in international economic law, with coverage of Architecture.

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See Also

  • International Organization
  • Foreign Relations
  • Organization
  • United Nations
  • United Nations System
  • UN Agency

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Further Reading

  • Benn D McGrady, “World Health Organization (WHO),” Elgar Encyclopedia of International Economic Law, Cheltenham Glos (United Kingdom), Northampton, MA (United States)

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Further Reading

  • The entry “world health organization” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press

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Further Information

WHO (World Health Organization website)

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Notes and References

Guide to World Health Organization

Introduction to World Health Organization

World Health Organization (WHO), agency of the United Nations that organizes and funds health-care programs in nearly every country in the world. WHO was established in 1948. In collaboration with national governments and other international aid agencies, WHO works to reduce human disease, funds medical research, provides emergency aid during disasters, and aims to improve nutrition, housing, sanitation, and working conditions in developing countries. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency is perhaps best known for its immunization programs and its successful campaign to eradicate smallpox. ” (1)

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Notes and References

Guide to World Health Organization

WHO – World Health Organization

Further Reading

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