World Health Organization (WHO) is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations that acts as directing and coordinating authority for international health matters and public health.
In 1945, the United Nations Conference on International Organizations in San Francisco approved a proposal to establish a new autonomous international health organization. In 1946, the International Health Conference in New York approved the Constitution of the World Health Organization. On April 7, 1948 the WHO Constitution came into force. This date – April the 7th, 1948 – is considered to be the date of birth of the World Health Organization and celebrated as World Health Day.
WHO consists of 194 Member States. WHO Headquarter is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The principal organs of WHO are the World Health Assembly, the Executive Board, and the Secretariat.
The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It generally meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the Organization. The Health Assembly appoints the Director-General, supervises the financial policies of the Organization, and considers reports of the Executive Board.
The Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year term. The main Board meeting, at which the agenda for the forthcoming Health Assembly is agreed upon and resolutions for forwarding to the Health Assembly are adopted, is held in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly, for more administrative matters. The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.
The WHO Secretariat comprises some 8000 health and other experts and support staff on fixed-term appointments, working at headquarters, in the six regional offices, and in countries.
The Organization is headed by the Director-General, who is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Executive Board. The current Director-General of the WHO is Tedros Adhanom, who started his five-year term on 1 July 2017.
The objective of the WHO, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. 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.
To better reflect regional priorities and be closer to national health needs, the work of the World Health Organization is regionalized. WHO has six regional organizations, each consisting of a Regional Committee and Regional Office. These are in the Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Western Pacific, South East Asia and the Americas.
WHO Region for Europe comprises 53 member States, including Ukraine. The WHO Regional Office for Europe is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ukraine is a WHO member since 1948 (April 3, 1948 joined the WHO Constitution). From 1950 to 1991 Ukraine's membership in the Organization was not active.
Ukraine regards its collaboration with the WHO as one of the important components of its international cooperation to ensure the constitutional right of every Ukrainian citizen for health care, medical care and medical insurance (Article 49 of the Constitution of Ukraine).
WHO approach, under which health is considered both as a resource and development goal and the key to prosperity, is consistent with the principles of Ukraine’s state policy in the social and economic sphere.
The WHO main tasks and strategic directions of their implementation correspond with Ukraine’s interests.
Ukraine is interested in using the WHO potential and experience.
Cooperation with Ukraine is carried out mainly through WHO Regional Office for Europe (ERB) in accordance with two-year framework agreements between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the ERB, defining the priority areas of cooperation.