World Health Organization- Facts, Missions, and Challenges

The World Health Organization (WHO) was found in 1948. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations along with a broad mandate in order to act as a coordinating authority on international health issues.

World health organization has a broad mandate to act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work within the United Nations system. WHO is made up of 194 member states.

Facts about WHO

  • The U.S. government has long been actively engaged with the world health organization by providing financial and technical support.
  • The United States has been considered the largest contributor to WHO.
  • The major challenge that WHO faces challenges is a broad mandate with limited and inflexible funding as well as bureaucratic complexity. World health organization has instituted several changes to address prior weaknesses in its health emergency programs.
  • It is fascinating to know that WHO is currently helping coordinate a worldwide response to COVID-19 that is now declared to be a public health emergency of international concern and a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Mission and Priorities

Its overarching mission of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. However, the agency supports its mission through some activities such as:

  • By providing technical assistance to countries
  • By setting international health standards
  • By guiding on important health issues
  • By coordinating and supporting international responses
  • By promoting and advocating for better global health

The world health organization also serves as a convener and host for international meetings as well as discussions on health issues. WHO is generally not a direct funder of health services but it provides supplies and support during emergencies and carries out programs funded by donors.


It is essential to know that WHO faces several institutional challenges such as:

  • A scope of responsibility that has grown over time. whereas, the budget has remained flat or been reduced
  • A budget has become less flexible with much greater reliance on voluntary contributions for specific activities
  • A  decentralized, cumbersome, bureaucratic governance structure


It is essential o know that world health organization has a headquarters office located in Geneva, Switzerland. Moreover, it has also six semi-autonomous regional offices that oversee activities in each region and representatives around the world. WHO is led by a Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected to a five-year term.


It is essential to know that the world health organization relies on contributions from member states and private organizations for funding in order to implement its budget and work plan. Furthermore, the biennial WHO budget for 2020-2021 has been set at more than $4.84 billion.

Executive Board of world health organization is comprised of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health and provides proposals as well as recommendations to the Director-General and the WHA.

The 34 members are drawn from six regions

  • 5 represent the Eastern Mediterranean
  • 7 represent Africa
  • 3 represent South-East Asia
  • 6 represent the Americas
  • 8 represent Europe
  • 5 represent the Western Pacific

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