The World Health Organization: A History

The World Health Organization: A History


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According to its Constitution, the mission of the World Health Organization (WHO) was nothing less than the 'attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health' without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic status, or social condition. But how consistently and how well has the WHO pursued this mission since 1946? This comprehensive and engaging new history explores these questions by looking at its origins and its institutional antecedents, while also considering its contemporary and future roles. It examines how the WHO was shaped by the particular environments of the postwar period and the Cold War, the relative influence of the US and other approaches to healthcare, and its place alongside sometimes competing international bodies such as UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation. The authors re-evaluate the relative success and failure of critical WHO campaigns, from early malaria and smallpox eradication programs to struggles with Ebola today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108728843
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/11/2019
Series: Global Health Histories
Pages: 388
Sales rank: 801,766
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Marcos Cueto is Professor of the Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro the main Brazilian biomedical institute, and is co-editor of the journal História, Ciências Saúde - Manguinhos. His book, co-authored with Steven Palmer, Medicine and Public Health in Latin America: A History (Cambridge, 2015) won the 2017 George Rosen award of the American Association for the History of Medicine.

Theodore M. Brown is Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences and of Public Health Sciences and Medical Humanities in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester, New York. He is an Associate Editor (History) of the American Journal of Public Health.

Elizabeth Fee passed away on October 17, 2018. She was at that time the senior historian at the National Library of Medicine. She was a prolific scholar who authored, co-authored, and edited many books including the co-authored book with Theodore M. Brown, Making Medical History: The Life and Times of Henry E. Sigerist (1997).

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The making of an international health establishment; 2. The birth of the World Health Organization, 1945-8; 3. The start-up years, 1948-55; 4. The Cold War and eradication; 5. Overcoming the warming of the Cold War: smallpox eradication; 6. The transition from 'family planning' to 'sexual and reproductive rights'; 7. The vicissitudes of primary health care; 8. The response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic; 9. An embattled director-general and the persistence of the WHO; 10. The competitive world of global health; 11. The World Health Organization in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

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