World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health. It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health. The World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948. The first session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia was held on 4-5 October 1948 in the office of the Indian Minister of Health. It was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India and was addressed by the WHO Director-General, Dr Brock Chisholm. India is a Member State of the WHO South East Asia Region. Dr. Henk Bekedam is the WHO Representative to India.

The WHO Country Office for India is headquartered in Delhi with country-wide presence. The WHO Country Office for India’s areas of work are enshrined in its new Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2012-2017.

WHO is staffed by health professionals, other experts and support staff working at headquarters in Geneva, six regional offices and country offices. In carrying out its activities and fulfilling its objectives, WHO’s secretariat focuses its work on the following six core functions:

Providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;

Shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; Setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation; Articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;

Providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and Monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

These core functions are set out in the 11th General Programme of Work, which provides the framework for organization-wide programme of work, budget, resources and results. Entitled “Engaging for health”, it covers the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015.

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