Promoting Public Health in the Twenty-First Century: The Role of the World Health Organization
One of the paradoxes of globalization is that an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world is simultaneously marked by widening health gaps between privileged and less advantaged groups, both between and within countries. Ambitious development and health objectives, most prominently the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), have been set by the global community to promote a fairer distribution of the benefits of progress. But gains toward the targets are too slow, particularly in the countries with the greatest needs. This chapter assesses WHO's capacity to lead in meeting these challenges. It begins with a review of key stages of WHO's history, then surveys the current state of global public health. Finally, it explores strategic directions set by WHO's current leadership to respond and help shape a healthier, more equitable future for all.
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