WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION – WHO
The World Health Organization, a U.N. agency, was founded in 1946. The Czech Republic became a member in 1993 as one of the successor states of the former Czechoslovakia and was among founding members of the Organization. The headquarters of the WHO is based in Geneva and the Organization comprises 193 members, divided into 6 regional groupings. Since 9th November 2006, the position of the Director-General has been held by Dr. Margaret Chan. WHO European Regional Office is based in Copenhagen, where the office of the regional director is held by Dr. Marc Danzon.
The tasks of WHO include the elaboration of health policies, consultancy in accordance with the needs of individual member states, assist with establishment of national health policies, monitor public health trends, assess national public health systems, develop and advance technologies, methods and mechanism for monitoring of diseases and for the management of public health services. WHO plays a crucial role in decreasing incidence of infectious diseases and in providing expertise throughout the process of epidemiological activities from the moment of disease outbreak. In addition, WHO is becoming a significant partner in the fight against bioterrorism and in other activities related to crisis management and humanitarian aid.
The WHO agenda could be summarized under following points:
- Promoting development
- Fostering health security
- Strengthening health systems
- Harnessing research, information and evidence
- Enhancing partnerships
- Improving performance
WHO activities are directed towards the fulfillment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These were set in Millennium Declaration (2000) and embody the commitment of U.N. member states to fight poverty, increase living standards and provide assistance to developing countries.
(More details on MDGs available at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml)
The principal body of WHO is the World Health Assembly (WHA). Yearly sessions of the WHA take place in May in Geneva and are attended by Ministers of Health from all member states. The main tasks of the WHA include deciding on the programme and budget matters for subsequent biennium and dealing with important health issues. WHA sessions are organized into plenary meetings and two technical committees. The WHO Executive Board (EB) holds sessions twice a year and is composed of national experts. It has 34 members that are elected for three year terms from among WHO member states. The main role of the Executive Board is to facilitate the work of the WHA and to implement its decisions and strategies.
WHO Liaison Office in the Czech Republic
The WHO Liaison Office in the Czech Republic is based in the U.N. house in Prague. It is administered by the Liaison Officer MUDr. Alena Šteflová. WHO Liaison Office facilitates mutual information sharing between WHO and the Czech Republic. It is primarily concerned with health and health systems. Moreover, it focuses on the distribution of WHO materials and publications to its partners. The Office should also contribute to formulation of health policies at both national and regional levels. This task includes fulfilling obligations under treaties of cooperation between WHO/EURO and Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, signed biannually, with respect to implementation of common projects.
WHO division at PM Geneva
The WHO division at Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic cooperates with WHO governing bodies. We also participate at coordination meetings of the European Union where common EU positions are decided and then submitted to WHO. During the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Czech Republic has been leading all EU negotiations and acts as a main partner to the WHO.