Current projects

Overall focus The WHO's constitution states that its objective "is the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health".[16] WHO identifies its role as one of six main objectives:[17] 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. The 2012–2013 budget further identified thirteen areas among which funding was distributed.[18] Two of those thirteen areas related to communicable diseases: the first, to reduce the "health, social and economic burden" of communicable diseases in general; the second to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in particular.[18] In terms of HIV/AIDS, WHO works within the UNAIDS network and considers it important that it works in alignment with UNAIDS objectives and strategies. It also strives to involve sections of society other than health to help deal with the economic and social effects of the disease.[19] In line with UNAIDS, WHO has set itself the interim task between 2009 and 2015 of reducing the number of those aged 15–24 years who are infected by 50%; reducing new HIV infections in children by 90%; and reducing HIV-related deaths by 25%.[20] Although WHO dropped its commitment to a global malaria eradication campaign in the 1970s as too ambitious, it retains a strong commitment to malaria control. WHO's Global Malaria Programme works to keep track of malaria cases, and future problems in malaria control schemes. WHO is to report, likely in 2015, as to whether RTS,S/AS01, currently in research, is a viable malaria vaccine. For the time being, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and insecticide sprays are used to prevent the spread of malaria, as are antimalarial drugs – particularly to vulnerable people such as pregnant women and young children.[21] WHO's help has contributed to a 40% fall in the number of deaths from tuberculosis between 1990 and 2010, and since 2005, it claims that over 46 million people have been treated and an estimated 7 million lives saved through practices advocated by WHO. These include engaging national governments and their financing, early diagnosis, standardising treatment, monitoring of the spread and impact of tuberculosis and stabilising the drug supply. It has also recognised the vulnerability of victims of HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis.[22] WHO aims to eradicate polio. It has also been successful in helping to reduce cases by 99% since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, which partnered WHO with Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as smaller organizations. It works to immunize young children and prevent the re-emergence of cases in countries declared "polio-free".[23] Another of the thirteen areas is aimed at the prevention and reduction of "disease, disability and premature from chronic noncommunicable diseases, mental disorders, violence and injuries and visual impairment".[18][24] WHO also works to "reduce morbidity and mortality and improve health during key stages of life, including pregnancy, childbirth, the neonatal period, childhood and adolescence, and improve sexual and reproductive health and promote active and healthy aging for all individuals".[18][25] It also tries to prevent or reduce risk factors for"health conditions associated with use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity and unsafe sex".[18][26][27] WHO works to improve nutrition, food safety and food security and to ensure this has a positive effect on public health and sustainable development.[18] When any sort of disaster or emergency occurs, it is WHO's stated objective to reduce any consequences it may have on world health and its social and economic implications.[18] WHO also addresses government health policy with two aims: firstly, "to address the underlying social and economic determinants of health through policies and programmes that enhance health equity and integrate pro-poor, genderresponsive, and human rights-based approaches" and secondly "to promote a healthier environment, intensify primary prevention and influence public policies in all sectors so as to address the root causes of environmental threats to health".[18] In terms of health services, WHO looks to improve "governance, financing, staffing and management" and the availability and quality of evidence and research to guide policy making. It also strives to "ensure improved access, quality and use of medical products and technologies".[18] The remaining two of WHO's thirteen identified policy areas relate to the role of WHO itself: firstly, "to provide leadership, strengthen governance and foster partnership and collaboration with countries, the United Nations system, and other stakeholders in order to fulfill the mandate of WHO in advancing the global health agenda" and secondly "to develop and sustain WHO as a flexible, learning organization, enabling it to carry out its mandate more efficiently and effectively".[18] The WHO and the World Bank constitute the core team responsible for administering the International Health Partnership (IHP+). The IHP+ is a group of partner governments, development agencies, civil society and others committed to improving the health of citizens in developing countries. Partners work together to put international principles for aid effectiveness and development cooperation into practice in the health sector.[28] In addition, the WHO has also promoted road safety.[29] Each year, the organization marks World Health Day focusing on a specific health promotion topic, timed to match the anniversary of WHO's founding. Recent themes have been drug resistance (2011) and ageing (2012).[30] As part of the United Nations, the World Health Organization supports work towards the Millennium Development Goals.[31] Of the eight Millennium Development Goals, three – reducing child mortality by two-thirds, to reduce maternal deaths by three-quarters, and to halt and begin to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS – relate directly to WHO's scope; the other five inter-relate and have an impact on world health