In 1945 the United Nations Organization was formed. One of the agenda items that Heads of States discussed in 1945 was setting up a global organization on health matters. Subsequently, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) came into force on 7 April 1948, which is celebrated each year as World Health Day.
WHO is a specialised agency with directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
WHO's mission, set out in the WHO Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".
Regionalization is a special feature of WHO's organizational structure. Geographic areas serve as a framework for six regional offices.
The goal of the WHO Regional office for Europe (WHO EURO, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark) is to support 53 Member States in developing their own health policies, health systems and public health programmes, preventing and overcoming threats to health, anticipating future challenges and advocating for public health.
WHO is governed by World Health Assembly (WHA) and Regional Committees (RC), which are convened annually with the participation of heads of governments, ambassadors and ministers of health. WHA determines the main policies of the organization and issues of global health security and safety while RCs discuss and adopt regional polices and strategies and priority program areas.
In order to reinforce the importance of the contribution of health systems to the economic development and wealth of the populations, and to discuss ways to strengthen health systems, the Ministers of Health from 53 European Member States of the WHO met in Tallinn, Estonia in June 2008. The conference adopted the Tallinn Charter "Health Systems form Health and Wealth" to further guide the development of health systems across the European region.
In 2012 the ministerial committe approved the Health 2020 policy framework and strategy document, which became the main policy guidance for development of public health and health systems in 53 member states of European region.
WHO in Armenia
The Republic of Armenia became a WHO Member State in 1992. The WHO Country Office (WHO CO) in Armenia was established in 1994.
The WHO Country Office represents the WHO in the country. It supports the Government of Armenia and the Ministry of Health (MoH) in assessing health issues and needs, making policies and strategies, planning, implementing and evaluating programmes. The CO channels all WHO assistance to the country, as well as the country requests, to the appropriate units in EURO and Headquarters.
The main WHO partner in Armenia is the Ministry of Health. However, current strategies provide basis for active cooperation with the other ministries, RA National Assembly and other institutions and organizations, as well as educational and research centres, contributing to the health of the population.
Major international partners include the World Bank, USAID, Center for Disease Control Atlanta, International Committee of the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres, World Vision, OXFAM, Global Fund, GAVI and others.
Priority areas for WHO and MoH cooperation
The following priority areas for cooperation have been selected in response to public health needs and ongoing national programs to improve the health status of population in Armenia: