The World Health Organisation (WHO)

The World Health Organisation is the health arm of the United Nations which aims to promote international public health.

The WHO’s 6 Leadership Priorities

Note: don’t confuse this with the 6 core functions and the 6 agenda areas of the WHO, which you’ll find in previous notes and exams.  These are from previous years, and in 2015 you will be tested on these leadership priorities instead.

Mnemonic: UNSHIT

  1. Universal health coverage: aims to give everyone affordable access to essential health services
  2. Non-communicable diseases: aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, like CVD, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, by building healthier policies, reducing unhealthy behaviours, increasing access to medications, and encouraging research
  3. Social, economic and environmental determinants: acts on the causes of diseases to promote equity in health, through helping countries build better economic and social policy and increasing healthcare access to the disadvantaged
  4. Health-related Millennium Development Goals: targets the MDGs, especially the health-related ones (4, 5 and 6), as they all influence health
  5. Increasing access to medical products: improves access to affordable quality medicines, promoting local production
  6. The International Health Regulations: these require countries to report disease outbreaks to the WHO, and have procedures the WHO must follow in a public health emergency to reduce the threat to worldwide health


Note: the two videos below refer to the WHO’s 6 core functions and 6 agenda areas, which are no longer examinable. In 2015 you will be tested on the 6 leadership priorities instead. The videos below are still useful, however, as they cover the skills you need to answer WHO-related questions.