The World Health Organization (WHO) was created in 1948 by member states of the United Nations (UN) as a specialized agency with a broad mandate for health. The WHO is the world's leading health organization. Its policies and programs have a far-reaching impact on the status of international public health.
Defined by its constitution as "the directing and coordinating authority on international health work," WHO aims at "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible standard of health." Its mission is to improve people's lives, to reduce the burdens of disease and poverty, and to provide access to responsive health care for all people.
WHO's responsibilities and functions include assisting governments in strengthening health services; establishing and maintaining administrative and technical services, such as epidemiological and statistical services; stimulating the eradication of diseases; improving nutrition, housing, sanitation, working conditions and other aspects of environmental hygiene; promoting cooperation among scientific and professional groups; proposing international conventions and agreements on health matters; conducting research; developing international standards for food, and biological and pharmaceutical products; and developing an informed public opinion among all peoples on matters of health.