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The World Health Organisation Essay

2547 words - 10 pages

The World Health Organization


The World Health Organization (WHO) was established in 1948 to deal
with major health issues of the world. Some of the tasks the
organization looks after are to co-ordinate medical research, monitor
and combat the infectious diseases of the world, and to help
developing countries set up adequate health services. The WHO has over
150 member countries with its headquarters Geneva, Switzerland. The
aim of the WHO is ‘to help people attain the highest possible levels
of health.

The services of the agency may either be advisory or technical[1].
Some services include training of medical personnel, combating disease
outbreaks and epidemics, and publishing a series of technical and
scientific works.

The arrangement of WHO comprises the policymaking organization known
as the World Health Assembly, which consists of representatives of all
member nations and assembles yearly. This further comprises of an
exclusive board of 31 individuals elected by the assembly and a
secretariat, consisting of a director-general and a technical and
administrative staff. The agency has regional organizations for
Southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean area, Europe, Africa, the
Americas, and the western Pacific area1.

The WHO and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

SARS is the first global epidemic of the 21st century that has shocked
the economic and tourism industries. I have very little knowledge on
epidemics and the SARS virus, therefore this is my chance to gain
awareness on this matter.

The first case of SARS was reported on the 26 of February, 2003, in
Hanoi. However it is now known that SARS had emerged in Guangdong,
China, somewhere in November 2002, affecting over 300 people and
killing 5. The man in Hanoi at first was suffering minor symptoms of
pneumonia, which then multiplied into fever and difficulty in
breathing in less than a week. Since then the disease has spread to
over 13 countries with 8404 reported cases and 779 reported deaths
around the world. The initial ‘hot-zones’ of the SARS virus after
moving out from Guangdong were Hong Kong, Hanoi, Singapore and

The virus initially found a way to successfully spread itself from
person to person. This method was when an infected person went to
hospital; he/she would spread it to the unaware medical team, who in
turn would spread it to their patients. From only a few cases the SARS
virus escalated to 150 reported cases in March, then to 6000 in the
end of April, then 7000 and now 8000.

The WHO, through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network
(GOARN), is working to track and trace the origins of this disease,
develop precision diagnostics for it, and provide advice on treatment...

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