Introduction to WHO                          
An overlook to the World Health Organization





In the World:

WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Founded in 1948, it works for the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Its constitution came into force on 7 April 1948, which is celebrated every year as the World health Day.


In I.R.Iran:

The collaboration between WHO and I.R.Iran started in 1955 through an agreement of cooperation. However, the country office has been operational since 1984. Its main counterpart in Iran is the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, and the primary objective of this partnership is to provide technical support to the country, within the overall scope of WHO’s global, regional and country priorities.



Flag of the WHO in front of the WHO headquarters building - Geneva


Definition and scope of health




Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.


WHO recognizes that the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon fullest cooperation of individuals and states. The constitution of WHO states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”. 



World Health Assembly after inauguration of WHO headquarters in 1966 - Geneva


The 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, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity


Monitoring the health situation and assessing health needs


Main entrance of the WHO headquarters building - Geneva


The four global priorities





Enhancing global health security


Preventing chronic and promoting healthy lifestyle


Achieving the Millennium Developments Goals


Improving health care and fairer access to health systems


Building of the WHO headquarters in Geneva - Switzerland


Strategic directions of work in Iran (2010-2014)





Improving Health Equity and Social Determinants


Strengthening Primary Health Care


Achieving universal coverage and improving equity in health care financing


Enhancing capacities for improving leadership and governance


Strengthening health security


Managing the demographic and the epidemiological transition


Distribution of countries in six WHO regions,
I.R.Iran is a member of Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)

Current areas of work in Iran




Development of Health Policy and Health Systems 

Social Determinants of Health

Environmental Health

HIV/AIDS and Communicable Diseases

Health Protection and Promotion

Emergency and Humanitarian Action

Advocacy and Knowledge Management


Building of the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) at Cairo, Egypt






Risk of compromising the effectiveness of the welfare system due to policies influencing the country’s socio-economical status and need of innovation according to demographic and epidemiological transition

Regional disparities in certain critical health indicators such as under five mortality and maternal mortality rates

Risk of importation of certain communicable diseases from neighboring countries that have been controlled in Iran

Coping with harmful effects of the epidemiological transition and rapid urbanization

Need to upgrade the PHC system to meet the expectations and needs of the communities in view of their evolving social and economic situation

Reform of health care financing to make it more equitable and efficient, improving the leadership and governance function of the health sector

Need to develop links and lines of communications with countries in the region and in the rest of the world

Promoting international human rights standards and principles and advocating for human rights as a common UN value in dialogue and interactions with national actors


World Health Assembly 2013 in Geneva  - Switzerland