5 Important Functions of the World Health Organization

The World Health Organiztion, or WHO, takes the lead in battling to prevent one of the world’s biggest killer: disease. But in order to understand what the main functions of this global organization are, attention must be paid to the Twelfth Programme of Work, the periodical report that lays out these functions.

1. Providing Leadership on Global Health

WHO is not the only major player in global health; there are several organizations who share the spotlight. But where this organization differs from others is that it continuously provides leadership in all areas of global health. This organization works with experts, volunteers, politicians, and governments to ensure that there is a set standard for global health and that it demonstrates this standard at all times. And because WHO is one of the most visible organizations, it is critical that they showcase leadership at all times, something it has done well since its inception.

2. Shaping the Research Agenda

Research is the main function of WHO; it is through research of disease and health policy that practices can be implemented on a global scale to save as many human lives as possible. Research is constantly changing and evolving, and WHO sees it as a priority to ensure that their own research practices are always beneficial to public health. The organization also distributes life-saving information all over the world, enabling the information they receive from research to make it to the communities that are affected the most by poor health conditions.

3. Setting the Standards for Global Health

One of the functions of WHO is to set international standards for the monitoring and implementation of global health policy and practices. While it continues to work hand-in-hand with governments and other non-governmental organization, it is this organization to which all other non-profit organizations look up to when discussing global health policy, norms, and practices. WHO does this by annually reviewing their own standards, taking constructive criticism from the global health community, and updating its standards as it sees fit.

4. Advocating for Evidence-Based and Ethical Policy

WHO is not the only organization that works to promote global health. It is, however, the one that takes the most responsibility for building a strong foundation on evidence-based science and ethical policies. Because the organization works all over the world, it is imperative that it takes the proper steps to ensure that their work is backed by sound science, ethical behaviors on their part, and demonstrates a high ethical standard for their international partners. This has been a function that WHO has been working tirelessly to improve as it is clear that the organization cannot act alone in the global health field; still, it remains a beacon of moral standards by upstanding global citizens.

5. Monitoring and Assessing Health Trends and Concerns

One of the main functions for the WHO continues to be tracking health trends across the globe. With malnutrition and preventable diseases supporting high mortality rates in underdeveloped countries, it is a mission of this organization to assess trends in order to ensure that its resources are going to the communities that need the most help. The Twelfth Programme of Work describes this in great detail and discusses not only child and maternal mortality rates, but also the spread of disease in every region, the expanding number of society that is aged 55 and over, and sanitation issues that contribute to the spread of disease.

WHO continues to be a symbol of integrity, rationality, and hope for the communities around the world that face global health crises. It is no wonder that it has an amazing reputation for providing excellent service for global communities while being an example for other organizations all over the world. Now that five important functions of the World Health Organization have been covered, consider learning more about current projects the organization is overseeing to see if help is needed.