A World Health Organization Primer

Srimathy Vijayan, MS IV

In This Article


The World Health Organization (WHO) can be thought of as the coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) system. Its responsibilities lie in the following areas[1]:

  • 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, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and

  • Monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.


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