WHO (World Health Organization)

WHO (World Health Organization)

We are the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system.

We do this by:

  • providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
  • shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
  • setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
  • articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
  • providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and
  • monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

Leadership priorities

For each 6-year programme of work priority areas are identified where our leadership is most needed.

At a Glance

Members 5
Partners 0

Organization Type

  • Scientific/ Research and Development


World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27

T : + 41 22 791 21 11

Organization Mission

Constitution of the World Health Organization: Principles

  • Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
  • The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.
  • The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.
  • The achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all.
  • Unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health and control of diseases, especially communicable disease, is a common danger.
  • Healthy development of the child is of basic importance; the ability to live harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such development.
  • The extension to all peoples of the benefits of medical, psychological and related knowledge is essential to the fullest attainment of health.
  • Informed opinion and active co-operation on the part of the public are of the utmost importance in the improvement of the health of the people.
  • Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.

Area of Focus

These are the areas in which we work

Health systems

WHO’s priority in the area of health systems is moving towards universal health coverage. WHO works together with policy-makers, global health partners, civil society, academia and the private sector to support countries to develop, implement and monitor solid national health plans. In addition, WHO supports countries to assure the availability of equitable integrated people-centred health services at an affordable price; facilitate access to affordable, safe and effective health technologies; and to strengthen health information systems and evidence-based policy-making.

Noncommunicable diseases

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, and mental health conditions - together with violence and injuries - are collectively responsible for more than 70% of all deaths worldwide. Eight out of 10 of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The consequences of these diseases reach beyond the health sector and solutions require more than a system that prevents and treats disease.

Promoting health through the life-course

Promoting good health through the life-course cuts across all work done by WHO, and takes into account the need to address environment risks and social determinants of health, as well as gender, equity and human rights. The work in this biennium has a crucial focus on finishing the agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and reducing disparities between and within countries.

Communicable diseases

WHO is working with countries to increase and sustain access to prevention, treatment and care for HIV, tuberculosis,malaria and neglected tropical diseases and to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases. MDG 6 (combat HIV/AIDS,malaria and other diseases) has driven remarkable progress but much work remains.

Preparedness, surveillance and response

During emergencies, WHO’s operational role includes leading and coordinating the health response in support of countries, undertaking risk assessments, identifying priorities and setting strategies, providing critical technical guidance, supplies and financial resources as well as monitoring the health situation. WHO also helps countries to strengthen their national core capacities for emergency risk management to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies due to any hazard that pose a threat to human health security.

Corporate services

Corporate services provide the enabling functions, tools and resources that makes all of this work possible. For example, corporate services encompasses governing bodies convening Member States for policymaking, the legal team advising during the development of international treaties, communications staff helping disseminate health information, human resources bringing in some of the world’s best public health experts or building services providing the space and the tools for around 7000 staff to perform their work in 1 of WHO’s more than 150 offices.


Funding Opportunities