The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized United Nations organization which acts as a coordinator and researcher for public health around the world. Established on 7 April 1948, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which had been an group of the League of Nations. The WHO's constitution states that its mission "is the achievement by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." Its major task is to combat disease, particularly key infectious diseases, and to promote the general health of the peoples of the world.
Examples of its work include years of fighting smallpox. In 1979 the WHO declared that the disease had been eradicate - the first disease in history to be completely eliminated by deliberate human design. The WHO is nearing success in developing vaccines against malaria and schistosomiasis and aims to eradicate polio within the next few years. The organization has already endorsed the world's first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe from October 3, 2006, making it an international standard
The WHO is financed by aid from member states and from donors. In recent years the WHO's work has involved more collaboration, currently around 80 such partnerships, with NGOs and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Voluntary contributions to the WHO from national and local governments, foundations and NGOs, other UN organizations, and the private sector (including pharmaceutical companies), now exceed that of assess contributions (dues) from its 193 member nations.