About WHO

Who we are, what we do

Our goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Working through offices in more than 150 countries, WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

Together we strive to combat diseases – infectious diseases like influenza and HIV and noncommunicable ones like cancer and heart disease. We help mothers and children survive and thrive so they can look forward to a healthy old age. We ensure the safety of the air people breathe, the food they eat, the water they drink – and the medicines and vaccines they need.


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.