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What Does The World Health Organization Actually Do?

Created in the wake of WWII, WHO has changed the world many times over.

World War II changed everything. The need for unity against evil and international peace was a concept the world was craving, even with the failing of the League of Nations to prevent World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the extreme need for the leadership of the United States and created the concept of the United Nations. Although he died before their first meeting, the council met in 1945. At the first meeting, diplomats recognized the need for a global health initiative.

The World Health Organization was born.

World Health Day is celebrated every year as the anniversary that the WHO came into existence, which was April 7th, 1948. The WHO was formed with the firm belief that every human being deserves high standards of health and that it is an inherent right. The original constitution gave them the responsibility of tackling international diseases, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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The history of the WHO's service to the human race is rich. Since its creation, the world has changed and evolved. The WHO's constitution has been amended 49 times to adapt these changes. The WHO has guided the world through things like discovery of antibiotics and life saving vaccines for polio and the measles. They would go on to develop the Expanded Programme on Immunizations to bring vaccines to children worldwide and save countless lives.

world health organization
  • Smallpox vaccination being administered by an injector gun.

  • Photo Credit: Pan American Health Organization PAHO / Flickr (CC)

The WHO's smallpox vaccine campaign eliminated the deadly virus from this earth. They were also behind the saving of 37 million lives with their initiative on the detection and treatment of tuberculosis. In 2003 they developed the global treaty to tackle tobacco, which according to the WHO website, has killed 7.2 million. That fatality count is higher than those of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. In 2012 the WHO developed a plan to target things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. They would continue to focus on overall health, eventually outlaying their recommendation for global health coverage in 2018.

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The impact that the WHO has had on the world is unmeasurable. They remain committed to responding to health emergencies, elimination of communicable diseases, making medication accessible, training health care professionals, and prioritizing the health of everyone.

Published on 22 Apr 2020

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