WHO worldwide


The United Nations Conference in San Francisco, USA, unanimously approves the establishment of a new, autonomous international health organization, 1945

WHO was founded in 1948 to work for the attainment of the highest possible level of health by all peoples. WHO works with 194 Member States, providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, and articulating evidence-based policy options. It also provides technical support to Member States, monitors and assesses health trends, funds medical research and provides emergency aid during disasters. Through its programmes, WHO also works to improve nutrition, housing, sanitation and working conditions around the world. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and has six regional offices around the world.

WHO operates in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing landscape. The boundaries of public health action have become blurred, extending into other sectors that influence health opportunities and outcomes. WHO responds to these challenges through a six-point agenda:

  • two health objectives: promoting development and fostering health security;
  • two strategic needs: strengthening health systems and harnessing research, information and evidence); and
  • two operational approaches: enhancing partnerships and improving performance.