Understanding the Leadership Structure of the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for international public health. It is composed of 194 Member States, each of which is represented at the World Health Assembly. This assembly is the main body of WHO and is responsible for determining the organization's policies and dealing with budgetary, administrative and similar issues. The WHO Member States are grouped into 6 regions, each of which has a regional office.

The main bodies of WHO are the World Health Assembly, the Executive Council and the secretariat, headed by a Director-General. All WHO members are represented at the World Health Assembly, with each member having one vote and being able to send three delegates. According to the WHO constitution, delegates should be elected on the basis of their technical competence and, preferably, should represent national health administrations. Delegations may include alternates and advisors.

The assembly meets annually, usually in May, for approximately three weeks. Most of the meetings have been held at WHO headquarters in Geneva. Each assembly elects a president. By a two-thirds vote, the assembly may adopt conventions or agreements.

While these are not binding on member governments until they accept them, WHO members must take steps leading to their acceptance within 18 months. The World Health Assembly may elect any 32 member countries (the only rule is equitable geographical distribution) for three-year terms, and each of the elected countries appoints a person technically qualified in the field of health to the WHO Executive Board. Countries are elected by rotation, one-third of the members are replaced each year, and they can succeed themselves. Board members act as individuals and not as representatives of their governments. A flat organizational structure is often used by WHO to limit levels of management, so that all staff are just a few steps away from leadership. This type of structure also allows for more flexibility when it comes to making changes or adjustments to leadership roles.

A network structure may also be used when one company works with another to share resources or if your company has multiple locations with different roles and leadership. Organizational structure diagrams can be used to visualize how workflows would work by adjusting organizational structure diagrams if you need to change or adjust your leadership. This type of diagram can help you understand how different roles interact with each other and how decisions are made within an organization.

Edna Freemon
Edna Freemon

Freelance coffee lover. Friendly pop culture buff. Music maven. Professional twitter maven. Unapologetic zombie junkie. Lifelong food lover.

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