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Methods and Applications of Statistics in Clinical Trials, Volume 2: Planning, Analysis, and Inferential Methods by N. Balakrishnan

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Chapter 57

World Health Organization (WHO): Global Health Situation

H. R. Hapsara

57.1 Introduction

To recognize the development of epidemiological and statistical activities and trend assessment in the World Health Organization (WHO), it is first important to review the contribution of epidemiology to world health. Epidemiology originated in response to a need to understand and control highly infectious epidemic diseases, such as cholera, plague, smallpox, and yellow fever, It was only with time that appreciation grew of the fact that all conditions of disease and ill health are interrelated, and that the emerging science of epidemiology provided the tools for helping to understand the major factors underlying these issues as well [1].

International health work also began with a concentration on infectious diseases, and then moved toward a wider concept of health as part of overall development. The roots of the World Health Organization, as an international health agency, go back to efforts in the ninetheenth century, and early in the twentieth century, particularly to the Rome Agreement of 1907, which established the Office International d’Hygiène Publique, with the express purpose “to combat infectious diseases.” The progressive shift of the concept of health, from the prevention of infectious diseases to viewing health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” is reflected in the successive evolution ...

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