The World Health Organization : a history / Marcos Cueto, Theodore M. Brown, Elizabeth Fee.

  • Cueto, Marcos
  • Books

About this work


According to its Constitution, the mission of the World Health Organization (WHO) was nothing less than the 'attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health' without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic status, or social condition. But how consistently and how well has the WHO pursued this mission since 1946? This comprehensive and engaging new history explores these questions by looking at its origins and its institutional antecedents, while also considering its contemporary and future roles. It examines how the WHO was shaped by the particular environments of the postwar period and the Cold War, the relative influence of the US and other approaches to healthcare, and its place alongside sometimes competing international bodies such as UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation. The authors re-evaluate the relative success and failure of critical WHO campaigns, from early malaria and smallpox eradication programs to struggles with Ebola today.


Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Physical description

xvi, 373 pages : black and white illustrations ; 24 cm.


The making of an international health establishment -- The birth of the World Health Organization, 1945 -- 1948 -- The start-up years 1948 -- 1955 -- The Cold War and eradication -- Overcoming the warming of the Cold War : smallpox eradication -- The transition from "family planning" to "sexual and reproductive rights" -- The vicissitudes of primary health care -- The response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic -- An embattled Director-General and the persistence of the WHO -- The competitive world of global health -- The World Health Organization in the second decade of the 21st century.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    JOB /CUE
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781108483575
  • 1108483577
  • 9781108728843
  • 1108728847