United Nations

World Health Organization

The objective of the World Health Organization (WHO) is for all peoples to attain the highest possible level of health. It is the most important UN specialised agency in the health sector and was founded in Geneva in 1948. The focus of its work is on the establishment and extension of effective health services and in helping industrialised and developing countries to fight disease. It also supports medical research and acts as a worldwide health warning service.

In 2009, the WHO had 193 member states. Germany has been a member since 1951 and is today the third largest contributor. The German contribution to the regular budget of the WHO comes from the funds of the Federal Ministry of Health. For many years, the BMZ has also promoted WHO special programmes serving in particular to combat infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and polio, by using trustee funds. A total of around 2.4 million euros was made available in 2008.

Up to the end of 2008 the German government contributed a total of around 220 million US dollars of bilateral funding as well as trustee funds towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is coordinated by the WHO. In early 2009 the BMZ pledged a further 100 million euros for the period 2009-2013.

For German development policy, the WHO is a key body in determining the specialist orientation of projects and programmes in the health sector.

In addition to the WHO's efforts to fight the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, German development policy made available funding towards preventative measures to stem the spread of H1N1 in developing countries and to carry out immunisation programmes especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

More information


World Health Organization (WHO)

20, Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Phone: +41 / 22 / 7 91 21 11
Fax: +41 / 22 / 7 91 31 11

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