About WHO India

World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health. It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health. The World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948. The first session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia was held on 4-5 October 1948 in the office of the Indian Minister of Health. It was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India and was addressed by the WHO Director-General, Dr Brock Chisholm. India is a Member State of the WHO South East Asia Region.

Dr Henk Bekedam is the WHO Representative to India.

The WHO Country Office for India is headquartered in Delhi with country-wide presence. The WHO Country Office for India’s areas of work are enshrined in its new Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2012-2017.

WHO is staffed by health professionals, other experts and support staff working at headquarters in Geneva, six regional offices and country offices. In carrying out its activities and fulfilling its objectives, WHO's secretariat focuses its work on the following six core functions:

  • providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed;
  • shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge;
  • setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation;
  • articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
  • providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and
  • monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.

These core functions are set out in the 11th General Programme of Work, which provides the framework for organization-wide programme of work, budget, resources and results. Entitled "Engaging for health", it covers the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015.

Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2012-2017

The WHO Country Cooperation Strategy – India (2012-2017) has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) of the Government of India (GoI) and the WHO Country Office for India (WCO). Its key aim is to contribute to improving health and equity in India. It distinguishes and addresses both the challenges to unleashing India’s potential globally and the challenges to solving long-standing health and health service delivery problems internally.

The CCS incorporates the valuable recommendations of key stakeholders garnered through extensive consultations. It balances country priorities with WHO’s strategic orientations and comparative advantages in order to contribute optimally to national health development. It includes work on “inter-sectoral” actions, regulations and reform of the provision of (personal and population) health services that impact on the health system outcomes – health status, financial protection, responsiveness and performance.

To contribute meaningfully to the national health policy processes and government’s health agenda, the CCS has identified three strategic priorities and the focus areas under each priority:

Strategic priority 1: Supporting an improved role of the Government of India in global health

  • International Health Regulations: Ensuring the implementation of International Health Regulations and similar commitments.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Strengthening the pharmaceutical sector including drug regulatory capacity and, trade and health.
  • Stewardship: Improving the stewardship capacity of the entire Indian health system

Strategic priority 2: Promoting access to and utilization of affordable, efficiently networked and sustainable quality services by the entire population

  • Financial Protection: Providing universal health service coverage so that every individual would achieve health gain from a health intervention when needed.
  • Quality: Properly accrediting service delivery institutions (primary health care facilities and hospitals) to deliver the agreed service package.

Strategic priority 3: Helping to confront the new epidemiological reality of India

  • Health of Mothers and Children: Scaling up reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services.
  • Combined Morbidity: Addressing increased combinations of communicable and noncommunicable diseases.
  • Transitioning Services: Gradual, phased “transfer strategy” of WHO services to the national, state and local authorities without erosion of effectiveness during the transition period.

Achievement of the CCS objectives calls for major adaptations in the way the WCO plans, works, organizes and delivers measurable results towards the goal of ensuring better health for all Indians in collaboration with the government and other partners.

The critical challenge for the WCO will be to adjust and scale up its capacity to provide support for the required technical excellence that would enable meaningful contributions to national health policy processes, and the government’s health agenda. The CCS implementation will be based on two-year Action Plans developed by the WCO in consultation with the MoHFW taking due consideration of the health priorities envisaged by the 12th Five Year Plan.