MATERNAL AND NEWBORN
SAFE MOTHERHOOD UNIT
FAMILY AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the
United Nations with primary responsibility for international health matters and
public health. Through this organization, which was created in 1948, the health
professions of some 189 countries exchange their knowledge and experience with
the aim of making possible the attainment by all citizens of the world by the
year 2000 of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and
economically productive life.
By means of direct technical cooperation with its Member States,
and by stimulating such cooperation among them, WHO promotes the development of
comprehensive health services, the prevention and control of diseases, the
improvement of environmental conditions, the development of health manpower, the
coordination and development of biomedical and health services research, and the
planning and implementation of health programmes.
These broad fields of endeavour encompass a wide variety of
activities, such as developing systems of primary health care that reach the
whole population of Member countries; promoting the health of mothers and
children; combating malnutrition; controlling malaria and other communicable
diseases including tuberculosis and leprosy; having achieved the eradication of
smallpox, promoting mass immunization against a number of other preventable
diseases: improving mental health; providing safe water supplies; and training
health personnel of all categories.
Progress towards better health throughout the world also demands
international cooperation in such matters as establishing international
standards for biological substances, pesticides and pharmaceuticals; formulating
environmental health criteria; recommending international non-proprietary names
for drugs; administering the International Health Regulations; revising the
International Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death; and
collecting and disseminating health statistical information.
Further information on many aspects of whos work is
presented in the Organizations publications.
© World Health Organization 1997
This document is not a formal publication of the World Health
Organization (WHO), and all rights are reserved by the Organization. The
document may, however, be freely reviewed, abstracted, reproduced or translated,
in part or in whole, hut not for sale or for use in conjunction with commercial
The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the
responsibility of those