What is the World Health Organization?

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The World Health Organization exists as a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and has 150 participating nations. The focus of the World Health Organization is the highest possible attainment of health by all people. The organization further defines health as not merely the absence of disease but instead complete physical, mental, and social well-being.

To that end, the World Health Organization promotes ample nutrition, adequate housing, proper sanitation, available means of recreation, and quality working conditions. It promotes research and scientific advances that eradicate epidemic and endemic diseases and stands ready to assist governments in strengthening their health services when those are requested. They exist to "keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable."

The World Health Organization monitors global trends in public health and provides leadership on health concerns. With ongoing research, it conveys ethical implications of health-related policies and practices.

From its origins in the 1940s, the organization has targeted a few especially deadly diseases worldwide, such as polio and malaria. This focus has continued into recent years, preventing millions of deaths.

The World Health Organization recognizes World Health Day each year, on April 7, with a specific health-related focus. It also has constructed Millennium Development Goals, such as reducing maternal death worldwide by 75% and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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