WHO (World Health Organization)
This section highlights the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early phases of the COVID 19 Pandemic and ongoing efforts. The goal is to demonstrate the complexity of the challenge involved and the need to employ tools that allow us to better understand the ecosystem, the relationship of the stakeholders, and the political opportunity for citizens to address locally and nationally the dynamics of global challenges.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency's governing structure and principles, states its main objective as "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.
The WHO was established by constitution on 7 April 1948, which is commemorated as World Health Day. The first meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the agency's governing body, took place on 24 July 1948. The WHO incorporated the assets, personnel, and duties of the League of Nations' Health Organisation and the Office International d'Hygiène Publique, including the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Its work began in earnest in 1951 following a significant infusion of financial and technical resources.
The World Health Organization has long warned of the potential of disease outbreaks and pandemics to threaten the health of people all over the world, and for the need for countries to be prepared to respond. And from capturing on 31 December 2019 the initial reporting of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, to now, WHO has been responding rapidly, working closely in solidarity with and in support of governments around the world, to help countries, communities and individuals fight what is today known as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The near irrelevance of the World Health Organization, which should be central to meeting the threat at hand, speaks volumes to the poor state of global governance.” Richard Haas
The WHO World Health Organization Stakeholder
Starting August 2021
Help us explore the role of the World Health Organization
International Health Regulations (IHR) govern global health law on an international scale. For its mishandling of its COVID-19 outbreak, China is in violation of Articles six and seven. Article six requires that states first notify the WHO of an event of public health emergency concern and provide any timely, accurate and detailed public health information available to it. Article seven extends this to circumstances that include a state seeing evidence of an unexpected or unusual public health event within its territory that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern even if the origin or source of it is unknown.