The World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) was established on 7 April 1948 as the directing and coordinating authority in global public health within the United Nations system. Working at three levels in the Organization (global, regional and country), more than 7000 WHO staff worldwide collaborate with the governments of 194 Member States and other partners to achieve the WHO founding vision of the attainment of the highest possible level of health by all people.
The Western Pacific Region
The WHO Western Pacific Region is home to more than one quarter of the world’s population, stretching over more than one third of the distance around the globe. In all, more than 600 WHO staff work in 15 country offices and the Regional Office in Manila, Philippines, to support Member States in achieving better health outcomes for the Region’s nearly 1.9 billion people in 37 countries and areas.
WHO presence in Australia
Australia’s achievements in health include high life expectancy, a well-established universal health-care system, strong regulatory capacity, demonstrated resilience to health security threats and global leadership in many areas of public health, such as tobacco control. However, Australia shares many common challenges with countries in the Western Pacific Region, including a rising burden of noncommunicable diseases, an ageing population and increasing demands on the health budget.
Australia and WHO have worked together closely for nearly 70 years. Australia is an active WHO Member State contributing to regional and global health through its leadership on a range of priority health issues, collaborating with partners and exchanging expertise to promote best practices and supporting WHO to be a strong and effective organization. Australia is currently home to 46 WHO collaborating centres that work directly with the Organization on a range of technical priorities.
Australia, one of the WHO founders, participated in the International Health Conference in 1946, which resutled in the drafting of the WHO constitution, turning over the functions of the Office International d'Hygiene Publique (OIHP) to WHO and setting up of an Interim Commision to prepare for the First World Health Assembly. It joined the WHO on 2 February 1948. The WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific was established on 13 June 1956 in Sydney, Australia before it was transferred to Suva, Fiji in 1965.
In May 1999, responsibility over Australia were transferred from the South Pacific Office to the Western Pacific Regional Office under the Office of the Director, Programme Management.
All enquiries about WHO’s work with Australia should be sent to:
Director for Programme Management
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific
United Nations Avenue PO Box 2932
1000 Manila, the Philippines