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Why in news?

  • President Donald Trump said on 14th April 2020 he has instructed his administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic while his administration reviews its response to the global crisis. Trump said WHO had promoted China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak of the virus than otherwise would have occurred.
  • India on 15th April 2020 refused to criticise the United States defunding of the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying that it was currently occupied with the domestic campaign to defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • A source indicated that India was not inclined to immediately join the controversy that erupted after the President Donald Trump declared a “halt” to American funding of the WHO.


  • The World Health Organization is a U.N. specialized agency – an independent international body that works with the United Nations.
  • The WHO has been appealing for more than $1 billion to fund operations against the pandemic.
  • The agency needs more resources than ever as it leads the global response against the disease.
  • The WHO’s latest documents show that the United States is its top contributor with around $58 million and halting that payment is expected to hit many health initiatives across the world, including in India.

Functioning of WHO

World Health Assembly

  • The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Members.
  • Each Member 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.
  • The Health Assembly meets in regular annual session and sometimes in special sessions as well.
  • The Health Assembly determines the policies of the Organization.
  • It supervises the financial policies of the Organization and reviews and approves the budget.
  • It reports to the Economic and Social Council in accordance with any agreement between the Organization and the United Nations.

The Secretariat

  • The Secretariat comprises of the Director-General and such technical and administrative staff as the Organization may require.
  • The Director-General is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Board on such terms as the Health Assembly may determine.

Membership and Associate Membership

  • Members of the United Nations may become Members of the Organization.
  • Territories or groups of territories which are not responsible for the conduct of their international relations may be admitted as Associate Members by the Health Assembly.

What are the contributions of the WHO in India?

  • The WHO Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) – India has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) of the Government of India (GoI) and the WHO Country Office for India (WCO). Its key aim is to contribute to improving health and equity in India. It distinguishes and addresses both the challenges to unleashing India’s potential globally and the challenges to solving long-standing health and health service delivery problems internally.
  • The National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria (2017-2022) was launched by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare. Its main goal is to totally eliminate Malaria by 2027. The National Strategic Plan has formulated year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country. It is formulated with the support of the World Health Organization’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016-2030).
December 2023