WHO (World Health Organisation)

A specialised United Nations agency that is responsible for international public health.

The WHO Constitution’s main objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, and it has six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide. The WHO was established on 7 April 1948 – which is commemorated as World Health Day.

Its mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well-being. It provides technical assistance to countries, sets international health standards and guidelines, and collects data on global health issues. Official website: https://www.who.int/.

Regarded as a credible source of information, the US government administration under Donald Trump sought to undermine the credibility of the WHO by withdrawing funding for the agency as well as criticising its handling of the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

TIP: While journalists should constantly check information from all sources, the WHO is still widely regarded as a credible source for comment and information for stories on public health issues.