The world health organization (WHO) is the agency of the United Nations (UN) whose function is to coordinate health issues at the international level. The agency was founded on the 7th of April 1948 with its headquarters located in Geneva Switzerland (Lee 2008). The agency received the responsibilities and resources of the defunct Health Organization, a League of Nations agency which was also a predecessor of the UN.
The constitution of the WHO was officially implemented on the 7th April 1948 which marked the first world health day. All member states of the UN can become WHO members by ratifying its constitution. Membership of new applicants is facilitated by a simple majority vote by the world health assembly. Admission of non- sovereign states is only accepted after application carried out by the system responsible for its foreign affairs and assumes the status of Associate member (Lee 2008).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is an agency of the federal government of the United States of America which operates under the department of health and human services. Its location is found in Druid Hills, Atlanta the state of Georgia. It functions as the government’s public health institute and also took a pioneering role in the formation of the association of national public health institutes (IANPHI) (Pendergrast 2010)
The agency was established in 1942 as office of National Defense Malaria control Activities. Before its inception, The Malaria Commission of the League of Nations and the Rockefeller Foundation were the authorities in malaria prevention. The selection of it’s headquarter was due to the prevalence of malaria in the southern parts of the US. Though the WHO and the CDC are different agencies, they work in tandem in ensuring public heath safety.
Roles of the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease and Control
The WHO does its function through its core mandates which include giving the necessary leadership in important health matters and bringing stakeholders in engagements that require cooperation. The WHO is also at the forefront in determining direction of research in the health field and facilitating innovation of, manipulation into different language and transfer of information and important data.
It is also involved in determining the practices, principles and influencing and observing the practice of health research. The agency participates in outlining moral values and evaluating policy options. Other responsibilities include availing much needed support, promoting change and creating lasting institutional ability. It also keeps a close watch on global health condition and studying health patterns. WHO also publishes the world health report that provides information to donor agencies and other partners to help in policy decisions and financial obligations. All the above roles are spelled out in the 11th general program of work that outlines the duties, budget, outcomes and resources, and it spans the period of 2006 to 2015.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention initially focused on malaria prevention and treatment in the United States with work centering on entomology and engineering. In the years that followed it took interest in public health matters and it widened its mandate to include other transferable diseases (Pendergrast 2010).
With time its duties ballooned to include sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and the immunization program. Currently it works under the Department of Health and Human Services with responsibilities covering chronic diseases, workplace safety, injury prevention, terrorism alertness and environmental issues. The agency has played important role in reducing cases of penicillin abuse. As new diseases emerge, CDC tackles bioterrorism, birth related problems, and microbial infections.
Impacts of the economic crisis on health
Before the G 20 summit in Washington, the WHO released a statement on the impacts of the global financial crisis on health issues. Predictions over the last few months show that most economies in the world will experience low economic growth. Health sector relies heavily on other factor such as employment, provision of shelter, good nutrition and education (Arieff 2010). Many countries have resorted to economic rescue packages to spur growth so that the vital sector like health care is not adversely affected. Some of the detrimental effects of the crisis include low life expectancy due to poor diet and lack of proper health care, high infant mortality rate as pregnant women in rural areas cannot access timely healthcare.
The psychological impact of the crisis is slowly being felt as many people lose their jobs and houses raising the levels of stress. This requires the government to boost stress management services in its health centers. Many governments have been forced to introduce austerity measures which include cutting aid to international donor agencies which play a critical role in health care provision in developing countries. The end result is diminished quality of life affecting even future generations (Arieff 2010).
Discussion question 4
The center for disease control promotes excellence in scientific research in trying to provide solution to health problems facing mankind ranging from chronic diseases, emerging diseases, lifestyle diseases and environmental safety. It has also established research centers in many parts of the globe to facilitate collaboration finding solutions to some of these challenges.
As the financial crisis takes a global perspective, the WHO has to look for alternative sources of financing in order to be able to function and achieve its aspirations and mandates. The health of the humanity is vital for global prosperity; therefore as an agency of the UN, it has the responsibility of ensuring that everyone has access to health care as a basic right.