The World Health Organization (WHO) was established by the United Nations to act as an international coordinating authority on April 7, 1948. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO succeeded the role of the Health Organization, its predecessor under the League of Nations.

One of the original institutions founded by the United Nations, WHO has as its mission the “attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” WHO coordinates the international effort to monitor and fight outbreaks of infectious diseases, and sponsors programs to eradicate such diseases. WHO declared in 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated from the planet – the first disease eliminated by deliberate human effort.

World Health Organization.  Photo:  Swiveler
World Health Organization building