The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Geneva. The WHO has many initiatives that center around health. Primarily, they lead global efforts to expand universal health coverage using science-based policies and programs. They are also responsible for shaping health research agendas and developing norms and standards.
The WHO provides expert team support, including funding, vaccines, testing, and treatment tools at the country level to fight against infectious diseases—for example, low-cost treatment services for HIV and tuberculosis.
Here are some other WHO initiatives:
- Developing cost-effective, evidence-based, culturally acceptable interventions called "best buys."Examples include early screening, physical activity, and a healthy diet to prevent and control non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer, and tobacco use. In addition, the WHO develops and launches guidelines for improving healthcare centers' water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
- The WHO strives to detect, communicate, prevent, and prepare for public health emergencies through the health emergency program with measures like infection control practices, surveillance, contact tracing, laboratory service, and safe and dignified burial.
- The WHO emphasizes that a global policy on sexual harassment should raise awareness among all staff, collaborators, donors, and beneficiary populations.
- The WHO's worldwide approach to medicine focuses on increasing access to vital drugs while restricting the spread of counterfeit products. Every year, international procurement agencies like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria purchase billions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals for distribution in resource-limited nations.
- The WHO Prequalification of Medicines Programme ensures that medicines delivered by procurement agencies fulfill acceptable quality, safety, and efficacy standards. They also focus on maintaining fair drug costs, expanding access to vital drugs, and encouraging rational drug use.
- The WHO's Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery (SDNM) has prioritized policies related to nursing education, effective recruitment, staff retention, and senior leadership positions for nurses.