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International Organization and Health/Disease

Kelley Lee


Comment on this article   Patterns of health and disease have been relevant to international studies for as long as human populations have migrated across large territorial spaces, and the history of international organization to protect and promote human health can be traced to ancient times. Major disease epidemics, notably those causing large-scale morbidity and mortality, led to the creation of formal institutional arrangements to support health cooperation. The Plague of Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 1340s, cholera epidemics during the Industrial Revolution, and the influenza pandemic after World War I, for example, all prompted efforts to strengthen collective action. The resultant institutional arrangements included the International Sanitary Conferences, the Office International d'Hygiène Publique, the Health Organization of the League of Nations, and various regional bodies. After World War II, international health cooperation was identified as a key function of the United Nations (UN), leading to the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the UN specialized agency for health. Over the next several decades, other UN bodies developed substantial health-related activities, such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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