Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health. WHO was established by the UN on April 7, 1948.
The constitution of WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and does not consist only of the absence of disease or infirmity. WHO is a global organization that promotes this concept of health.
After years of fighting smallpox, WHO declared in 1979 that the disease had been eradicated. It is nearing success in developing vaccines against malaria and schistosomiasis and aims to eradicate polio within the next few years.
Other than actually curing already occurring diseases, the Organization also puts great effort into producing articles on the cause of diseases. In addition to their work in eradicating disease, the WHO also carries out campaigns — for example, to boost consumption of vegetables worldwide, or adopting a negative stance towards tobacco – and conducts research: for instance, into whether or not the electromagnetic field surrounding cell phones has a negative influence on health.
Members of the UN appoint delegations to the World Health Assembly, which votes for the WHO Director General. The current Director General is Jong-Wook Lee.
The WHO is financed as a Public-Private Partnership.