World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) is governed by its 194 member state
Member state
A member state is a state that is a member of an international organisation.The World Trade Organization has members that are sovereign states and members that are not, thus WTO members are not called member states.- Worldwide :...

s. It is the world's highest health policy setting body and is composed of health minister
Health minister
A health minister is the member of a country's government typically responsible for protecting and promoting public health and providing welfare and other social security services....

s from member states.

The members of the World Health Assembly generally meet every year in May in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, the location of WHO Headquarters. The main tasks of the WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director General.

Members and observers

The original membership of the WHA, at the first assembly held in 1948, numbered 55 member states. The WHA has, currently, 194 member states.

In addition, seven agencies have observer status
Observer status
Observer status is a privilege granted by some organizations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organization's activities. Observer status is often granted by intergovernmental organizations to non-member states and international nongovernmental organizations that have...

 at the WHA - the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, the Palestinian Authority, the Order of Malta, the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a humanitarian institution that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the ICRC and 186 distinct National Societies...

, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei is the designated name used by the Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan, to participate in some international organizations and almost all sporting events, such as the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games and Asian Para Games...


The Department of Health
Department of Health (Republic of China)
Department of Health of the Republic of China is an executive agency of the Executive Yuan responsible for the administration of the public health system, affordable and universal health care, hospitals, pharmaceutical, immunisation programmes, disease prevention, supervision and coordination of...

 of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, commonly known as Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, was invited on 28 April 2009 to participate in the WHA 2009 as an observer for the first time since losing its United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 membership to China in 1971. The invitation was extended to "the Department of Health, Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei is the designated name used by the Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan, to participate in some international organizations and almost all sporting events, such as the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games and Asian Para Games...



The main international policy frameworks adopted through WHA resolutions
Resolution (law)
A resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion. For long or important motions, though, it is often better to have them written out so that discussion is easier or so that it can be...

  • International Health Regulations
    International Health Regulations
    The International Health Regulations 2005 are legally binding regulations that aim to a) assist countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the spread of diseases and other health risks, and b) avoid unnecessary interference with international trade and travel.The...

  • International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
    International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
    The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is an international health policy framework for breastfeeding promotion adopted by the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization in 1981...

    , adopted in 1981
  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adopted in 2003
  • Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, adopted in 2010

In addition, the WHA has endorsed through resolutions a number of WHO action plans dealing with different areas to improve health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

 around the world, such as:
  • Worldwide eradication of smallpox
    Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

    , first endorsed in 1959, and then declared to have been won in 1980
  • Worldwide eradication of polio
    Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route...

    , first endorsed in 1988, recently re-affirmed in 2011
  • Control of human hookworm
    The hookworm is a parasitic nematode that lives in the small intestine of its host, which may be a mammal such as a dog, cat, or human. Two species of hookworms commonly infect humans, Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus. A. duodenale predominates in the Middle East, North Africa, India...

     infection through regular deworming of at-risk school children, endorsed in 2001
  • WHO global action plan for workers' health
    WHO global action plan
    The Sixtieth World Health Assembly endorsed on May 23, 2007, the World Health Organization's global plan of action for workers' health. The assembly accepted the draft out of concern for the gaps between and within countries in the exposure of workers and local communities to occupational hazards...

    , endorsed in 2007
  • Control of harmful use of alcohol
    Passive drinking
    Passive drinking, like passive smoking, refers to the damage done to others as a result of drinking alcoholic beverages. These include the unborn fetus and children of parents who drink excessively, drunk drivers, accidents, domestic violence and alcohol-related sexual assaultsOn 2 February 2010...

    , endorsed in 2010
  • Enhanced global actions for the prevention and control of non-communicable disease
    Non-communicable disease
    A non-communicable disease, or NCD, is a medical condition or disease which is non-infectious. NCDs are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. They include heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and...

    s, endorsed in 2011

The WHA is also responsible for the endorsement of the WHO Family of International Classifications, a series of internationally standardized medical classifications, including the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, also known as ICF, is a classification of the health components of functioning and disability....


See also

  • United Nations General Assembly resolution
    United Nations General Assembly Resolution
    A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority to pass...

  • United Nations Security Council resolution
    United Nations Security Council Resolution
    A United Nations Security Council resolution is a UN resolution adopted by the fifteen members of the Security Council; the UN body charged with "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security"....

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