World Health Organization

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is the authority responsible for public health within the United Nations system.


Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health


The WHO was founded in 1948 as the United Nations’ specialized health agency, with the mission to help people everywhere achieve the highest possible level of health. To provide tailor-made assistance to countries on specific issues, WHO distinguishes six regions, including the European Region. Each hosts a regional office with the mandate to serve the Member States in that region. WHO has country offices in 154 Member States.

As part of the United Nations system, WHO’s primary role is to direct and coordinate international health by:

  • providing leadership on global health matters and engaging in partnerships for joint action;
  • shaping the research agenda;
  • setting health norms and standards and monitoring their implementation;
  • developing ethical, evidence-based policy options;
  • providing technical support to countries; and
  • monitoring and assessing health trends.