About WHO

Portrait of a woman next to a quote from the WHO Constitution:

Who we are

Dr Katrina Roper, a WHO epidemiologist working in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

WHO began when our Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as World Health Day. We are now more than 7000 people working in 150 country offices, in 6 regional offices and at our headquarters in Geneva.

What we do

An infant held by its mother with family.

Our primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations’ system.

These are our main areas of work:

Health systems
Promoting health through the life-course
Noncommunicable diseases
Communicable diseases
Corporate services
Preparedness, surveillance and response.

Where we work

We support countries as they coordinate the efforts of multiple sectors of the government and partners – including bi- and multilaterals, funds and foundations, civil society organizations and private sector – to attain their health objectives and support their national health policies and strategies.