WHO Structure

The WHO governing body is the World Health Assembly, which meets in May each year, usually at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva.

The World Health Assembly appoints the director general and decides on the budget and the direction of the activities and more. Each member state has one vote. The countries’ delegations to the World Health Assembly are usually led by the Minister of Social Affairs or Health.

The WHO also has a board that, among other things, must ensure that the parish’s decisions are enforced and provide advice to the secretariat on medical matters. The board also prepares various proposals for the World Health Assembly’s meetings and also has the right to decide on emergency measures in the event of disasters.

The board consists of 34 members who are qualified in the health area. It is the World Health Assembly that decides which countries contribute representatives to the board. The board members sit for three years and even though they are appointed by the governments of their countries, they act as independent experts, which is a feature of the WHO.

The WHO Secretariat coordinates global operations under the direction of the Director-General. The secretariat also prepares, together with independent expert groups, recommendations on various issues, which are often of great importance in medical science.

Since 2017, Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been the CEO. He is the first African to get the job and the first to be not a doctor but a microbiologist.

According to ezinereligion, WHO has a decentralized structure. The member countries are divided into six geographical regions. These in turn each have their own regional organization with its own decision-making assembly, the regional committee, which consists of delegates from the countries in the region. The head office of the European region is located in Copenhagen. Within each region, there is also a relatively independent regional office, with administrative tasks, which is headed by a so-called regional director.

In most developing countries, there is also a special WHO representative with one or a few additional employees. These country representatives report to the regional directors and are sometimes torn between different directives from the regional office and the head office.

The decentralized organization shall promote close cooperation with the Member States. It is also intended to provide greater scope for the specific needs of the various regions, but it has proved difficult to balance global and regional interests. Sometimes the question has been asked whether there is one or seven WHOs.

The WHO budget consists mainly of contributions from member countries. The size of the grants is determined by the countries’ economic conditions. Until 2020, the United States was the largest donor, but when the corona pandemic was triggered in 2020, US President Donald Trump distanced himself from the WHO, which he accused of cooperating with China, and almost all of the US contribution to the WHO was cut.

WHO Structure


One reason why TB became more common in the 1990’s was the spread of HIV, which weakens the immune system. HIV-infected people are at high risk of developing tuberculosis if they carry tuberculosis bacteria – and it is estimated that a third of the world’s population does.

The rapid spread of HIV and AIDS, the extent of which began to be understood in the late 1980’s, was a major setback for the WHO. Until then, the organization had been able to note significant progress in the health situation in most poor countries. But the AIDS epidemic had catastrophic consequences, particularly in Africa, which was hit hardest and where life expectancy fell by a third in just a decade. The number of new cases increased steadily during the 1990’s, but the curve flattened out in 2002 and the proportion of people living with HIV has since been 0.7 percent of the world’s population.

In 1996, the WHO, together with several other UN agencies, launched a joint program, Unaids, focusing on the fight against HIV and AIDS. Knowledge about the disease and antiretroviral drugs has reduced the spread of HIV and mortality in AIDS. Today, almost 80 percent of those diagnosed with HIV are treated. Still, the disease claims up to a million lives a year.

According to the strategy for managing AIDS that the WHO adopted in 2016, the disease should be eradicated by 2030.