A World Health Organization Primer

Srimathy Vijayan, MS IV

Disclosures
In This Article

WHO's Role in Global Health

WHO is a public health body representing the world's needs. At a global scale, the work WHO conducts is different from that of national and regional public health bodies. One of the purposes of WHO is to monitor disease throughout the world. This is essential not only as part of its mandate, but also for the measurement of performance with regard to how well the MDGs are being met. The work WHO conducts is multidimensional, and while concentrating on mapping global health trends and disease eradication, it is probably the best placed organization to ensure that the poorest countries receive the support they need.[14] Another key role of WHO is to provide a body of technical expertise through the production, dissemination, and implementation of evidence-based guidelines. This is especially important, because in a globalizing world, it is becoming increasingly clear that national health policy measures may not be as effective as they once were.[15,16,17] In fact WHO issues nearly 200 recommendations and policy statements every year.[18] These guidelines are not just useful for countries that have not developed such policies, but are also of increasing importance for those countries that have because of the rapid increase in scientific knowledge that can lead to conflicting recommendations.

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