The World Health Organization – Council on Foreign Relations

WHO Broad Health Mandate

The world’s designated leader for the global health issues (WHO) World Health Organization is one of the core part of the UN system. Even being the designated leader the authority of the World Health Organization is not unlimited. Its powers are only limited to the recommendation of the specific health policies and it does not have the enforcing authority. For the first time in more than forty years in the spring of 2009 The organization attracted notice with the onset of the swine flu (H1N1 virus) and its declaration of a growing pandemic. In the eyes of the global health experts WHO’s mandate reflects the desire for a universal agency whereas some critics say that WHO’s focus is too broad (Slate).

Creation of WHO
WHO A Broad Health Mandate was created out of discussions in the nascent United Nations about the need for a global health organization in the year 1948. It has offices in 147 countries and has six regional offices. The headquarters of the WHO is situated in Geneva, Switzerland. It was intended to be a coordinating body for global health policy implemented by national and international health agencies and not to provide health services.
WHO Broad Health Mandate
The WHO has no power to directly intervene in national health systems it primarily makes recommendations for the health system. Its annual budget in 2009 was close to $5 billion. The original programs of the WHO included malaria, women’s and children’s health, tuberculosis, nutrition, and environmental sanitation. It now monitors and coordinates on many other issues, including safety guidelines for genetically modified foods, adaptation to climate change, reducing tobacco and drug abuse, and road safety. The examining of the non-health determinants of health such as education, poverty, and infrastructure are also under its domain now. fighting infectious diseases, including the design of child vaccination programs, the reduction of the crippling skin disease yaws by about 95 percent by 1964, the eradication of smallpox in 1979, and the reduction of polio cases by about 99 percent by 2006, are some of the WHO’s most lauded successes.

Administration of the WHO
The organization is managed and controlled by delegates from its 193 member states, and each delegate has an equal vote on the direction of WHO policies. A legislative body which consists of the delegates of the World Health Assembly (WHA) meets once in a year to discuss the policy agenda. The WHA has an important responsibility of electing the WHO’s director-general and approving its budget. A great deal of autonomy is enjoyed by the regional offices of the organization.

Regional directors are elected by regional committees made up of health officials from countries within the region, with final approval given by headquarters. Adapting global health policy to regional circumstances is the responsibility which lies with the offices. Perhaps the most unique regional office is the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), which existed about forty years before the WHO was created and has enormous leverage in deciding policy for the region.