History

Establishment Main article: Establishment of the World Health Organization The League of Nations Health Organization was established following the First World War inside the League of Nations framework. According to the League's Covenant, it was to "endeavour to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of disease, even in cases of dire human hardship".[1] Its efforts were hampered by the Second World War, during which United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration also played a role in international health initiatives.[2] During the United Nations Conference on International Organization, references to health had been incorporated into the United Nations Charter and it passed a declaration that an international health body would be set up.[3] In February 1946, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations helped draft the constitution of the new body.[2] The use of the word "world", rather than "international", emphasised the truly global nature of what the organization was seeking to achieve.[2] The constitution of the World Health Organization had been signed by all 61 countries of the United Nations by 22 July 1946. It thus became the first specialised agency of the United Nations to which every member subscribed.[3] Its constitution formally came into force on the first World Health Day on 7 April 1948, when it was ratified by the 26th member state.[4] The first meeting of the World Health Assembly finished on 24 July 1948, having secured a budget of US$5 million (then GBP?1,250,000) for the 1949 year. Andrija Stampar was the Assembly's first president, and G. Brock Chisholm was appointed Director-General of WHO, having served as Executive Secretary during the planning stages.[2] Its first priorities were to control the spread of malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections, and to improve maternal and child health, nutrition and environmental hygiene. Its first legislative act was concerning the compilation of accurate statistics on the spread and morbidity of disease.[2] The logo of the World Health Organization features the Rod of Asclepius as a symbol for healing.[5] Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme read the news that smallpox had been globally eradicated, 1980 WHO established an epidemiological information service via telex in 1947, and by 1950 a mass tuberculosis inoculation drive (using the BCG vaccine) was under way. In 1955, the malaria eradication programme was launched, although it was later altered in objective. 1965 saw the first report on diabetes mellitus and the creation of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. WHO moved into its headquarters building in 1966. The Expanded Programme on Immunization was started in 1974, as was the control programme into onchocerciasis an important partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and World Bank. In the following year, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases was also launched. In 1976, the World Health Assembly voted to enact a resolution on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, with a focus on community-driven care. The first list of essential medicines was drawn up in 1977, and a year later the ambitious goal of "health for all" was declared. In 1986, WHO started it global programme on the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, followed two years later by additional attention on preventing discrimination against sufferers and UNAIDS was formed in 1996. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established in 1988.[6] In 1958, Viktor Zhdanov, Deputy Minister of Health for the USSR, called on the World Health Assembly to undertake a global initiative to eradicate smallpox, resulting in Resolution WHA11.54.[7] At this point, 2 million people were dying from smallpox every year. In 1967, the World Health Organization intensified the global smallpox eradication by contributing $2.4 million annually to the effort and adopted a new disease surveillance method.[8][9] The initial problem the WHO team faced was inadequate reporting of smallpox cases. WHO established a network of consultants who assisted countries in setting up surveillance and containment activities.[10] The WHO also helped contain the last European outbreak in Yugoslavia in 1972.[11] After over two decades of fighting smallpox, the WHO declared in 1980 that the disease had been eradicated the first disease in history to be eliminated by human effort.[12] In 1998, WHO's Director General highlighted gains in child survival, reduced infant mortality, raised life expectancy and reduced rates of "scourges" such as smallpox and polio on the fiftieth anniversary of WHO's founding. He, did, however, accept that more had to be done to assist maternal health and that progress in this area had been slow.[13] Cholera and malaria have remained problems since WHO's founding, although in decline for a large part of that period.[14] In the twenty-first century, the Stop TB Partnership was created in 2000, along with the UN's formulation of the Millennium Development Goals. The Measles initiative was formed in 2001, and credited with reducing global deaths from the disease by 68% by 2007. In 2002, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was drawn up to improve the resources available.[6] In 2006, the organization endorsed the world's first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe, which formed the basis for a global prevention, treatment and support plan to fight the AIDS pandemic