Today In History: 7 April 1948 World Health Organization Established

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The World Health Organization was established on 7 April 1948 following a period discussions and consultations after World War II and the formation of the United Nations.

When diplomats met to form the United Nations in 1945, one of the things they discussed was setting up a global health organization. WHO’s Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as World Health Day.

The WHO was created to coordinate health affairs within the United Nations system. Its initial priorities were malaria, tuberculosis, venereal disease and other communicable diseases, plus women and children’s health, nutrition and sanitation.

Samoa was assigned to the Western Pacific Region at the Sixth World Health Assembly held in May 1953 ”without prejudice to any questions regarding sovereignty” as an area.

Samoa then formally joined the World Health Organization on 16 May 1962 as a Member State after gaining its independence from New Zealand on 1 January 1962.