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Focus: GS-III International Relations, Prelims

Why in news?

The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through Video Conference on 18th May 2020.

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Its main objective is ensuring “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
  • The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well-being.
  • The World Health Assembly (WHA), composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the agency’s supreme decision-making body.

World Health Assembly (WHA)

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO.

It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.

The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland (sometimes in special sessions).

The main functions of the World Health Assembly are:

  1. To determine the policies of the Organization
  2. Appoint the Director-General
  3. Supervise financial policies
  4. Review and approve the proposed programme budget.
  5. Reporting to the Economic and Social Council in accordance with any agreement between the Organization and the United Nations.

The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Member States.

  • Each Member State is represented by not more than three delegates, one of whom is designated by the Member as chief delegate.
  • These delegates are chosen from among persons most qualified by their technical competence in the field of health, preferably representing the national health administration of the Member.
December 2023