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WHO is a specialised agency of the UNITED NATIONS.

The Constitution of WHO defines health "As a state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". WHO currently has 192 member states. WHO has been working in Bangladesh since 1972 under an agreement signed with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB). The objective of WHO is the attainment of highest possible level of health by all people.

To realise the objective, WHO has identified corporate strategy consisting four strategic directions and six core functions which provide a broad framework for focusing WHO's collaboration with countries.

Strategic directions are as follows:


Strategic direction 1: Reducing excess mortality, morbidity and disability, especially in poor and marginalised populations.

Strategic direction 2: Promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing risk factors to human health that arise from environmental, economic, social and behavioural causes.

Strategic direction 3: Developing health systems that equitably improve health outcomes, respond to people's legitimate demands and are financially fair.

Strategic direction 4: Framing an enabling policy and creating an institutional environment for the health sector and promoting an effective health dimension to social, economic, environmental and development policy.

The core functions include the following:

  • Articulating consistent, ethical and evidence-based policy and advocacy positions
  • Managing information by assessing trends and comparing performance; setting the agenda for and stimulating research and development
  • Catalysing change through technical and policy support, in ways that stimulate cooperation and action and help to build sustainable national and inter-country capacity
  • Negotiating and sustaining national and global partnerships
  • Setting, validating, monitoring and pursuing proper implementation of norms and standards stimulating development and testing of new technologies, tools and guidelines for disease control, risk reduction, health care management, and service delivery.
  • Monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends

WHO's core functions provide a focus for planning the work of the Secretariat. They have been helpful in finding about where WHO's advantages lie, and are particularly useful in appraising whether the balance of functions is right in relation to specific areas of work. The core functions also guide in formulating expected results of the plan of action.

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>Within the broader framework of corporate strategy, WHO prepares country specific cooperation strategy. Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) for Bangladesh was developed in consultation with GoB and DPs. CCS Bangladesh has identified following strategic areas for prioritising WHO collaboration in Bangladesh. These include -

  • Macroeconomics and Health
  • Developing a pro-poor health system
  • National Surveillance System and rapid response to communicable diseases
  • Protecting and improving women's health, especially rural poor
  • Initiative on environmental crisis affecting children's health
  • Initiating action on new, emerging health issue

WHO-GoB Collaboration

WHO collaborates with GoB through its Programme Budget and Biennial Plan of Action jointly developed by GoB and WHO.

The 2002-2003 budget was set within the policy framework provided by the General Programme of Work for 2002-2005. The budget is prepared in such a way that the three levels of the Organization-global, regional and country-are integrated with the same overall objectives, expected results and indicators. These activities of WHO are centered around 24 areas of work. Out of which 14 have been identified as organization wide priorities. These include -
The Organization-wide priorities are covered by activities under the following 14 areas of work: Malaria, Tuberculosis, Surveillance, Prevention and Management of Non-communicable Diseases; Tobacco; Mental Health and Substance Abuse; Child and Adolescent Health; Making Pregnancy Safer; HIV/AIDS; Health and Environment; Food Safety; Essential Medicines: Access, Quality and Rational Use; Blood Safety and Clinical Technology; Evidence for Health Policy; and Health Systems.


Collaboration with UN System in Bangladesh/MDG

WHO has actively collaborated and contributed to UNDAF 2001-2005 exercise in Bangladesh. WHO collaboration contributes to achieving UNDAF subgoal of "Promoting right to survival." These relate to MDG relating to reduction of poverty, improvement of health, ensure access to essential drugs, reduce child and maternal mortality and reduce communicable disease like Malaria, TB and HIV.

In addition to UNDAF, WHO works very closely with other UN Agencies in specific areas. Examples include collaboration with UNICEF in child health, particularly polio eradication, routine immunisation and IMCL. WHO collaborates with UNFPA in reproductive health and safe motherhood and in SBA, particularly promoting its core functions, evidence based policy and advocacy positions, and developments of tools, guidelines and norms and standards, which are used by UNFPA. WHO also collaborates with FAO in the area of food safety, arsenic in food chain and implementation of codex alimentarius in Bangladesh. WHO works with UNDP in promoting health and controlling Malaria and other diseases in CHT. WHO is one of the cosponsors of UNAIDS, and thus contributes and participates in various Theme Groups, expanded theme groups and taskforces.


COLLABORATION WITH BILATERAL AGENCIES

WHO is an active member of HPN consortium, as well as water supply sanitation subgroup of LCG, and also LCG task force of CHT. WHO chaired health subgroup in 2002, and water supply sanitation subgroup in 2003. Currently WHO chairs taskforce on Malaria for CHT subgroup. Through this mechanism WHO promotes donor coordination as well as coordination with GoB, civil society and other actors. WHO promotes evidence based best practice in health policy and in donor assistance, and facilitates policy dialogue with GoB and DPs.

In addition to LCG mechanism, WHO also enjoys bilateral collaboration and support from donors in Bangladesh. Major examples include WHO-DFID, Netherlands collaboration, WHO-USAID collaboration in Polio Eradication. WHO-CIDA collaboration in Tuberculosis.

COLLABORATION WITH NGO, PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES AND UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

WHO collaborates with professional societies, universities, NGOs and civil societies in specific and selected areas under the frame work of Plan of Action jointly developed and agreed along with Government. Accordingly, WHO currently works with BMA, Private Practitioners' Association, BSMMU, Chittagong, Dhaka and Rajshahi Medical Colleges. Regarding NGOs, WHO collaborates with BRAC, ICDDR,B, Damien Foundation etc. and research institutions like BIDS etc.

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