The World Health Organization, headquartered in Geneva, is a United Nations agency with primary responsibility for international health. It plays a major behind-the-scenes role in disseminating medical information and in planning and coordinating the fight against major diseases.

The Organization.

The World Health Organization was created in 1948. Today it has 166 member countries and an annual budget of about $275 million. Its staff of about 5,250 works at its headquarters, regional offices in Alexandria, Egypt; Brazzaville, Congo; Copenhagen; Manila; New Delhi, and Washington, and in field projects throughout the world.

WHO is governed by the World Health Assembly, which is composed of delegations from all member states and meets once a year in Geneva. The director general is responsible for its day-to-day work.

The Leaders.

Dr. Halfdan Mahler, 64, director-general. Danish citizen. Chief administrative officer. Joined the World Health Organization in 1951. Served in a variety of positions before becoming director-general in 1973. Expert on tuberculosis control and health care delivery systems.

Dr. Jonathan Mann, 40, director of the special program on AIDS. American. Reports directly to Mahler. Joined the World Health Organization in June, 1986. Previously, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's AIDS research program in Zaire and state epidemiologist in New Mexico.

The Key Staff.

Dr. James Chin, 54, consultant. American. Responsible for worldwide AIDS surveillance and forecasting long-term trends. Previously, chief of the infectious disease branch, California Department of Health Services. Served on Institute of Medicine's Committee on a National Strategy for AIDS in the United States.

Dr. Daniel Tarantola, 45, director of national program support. French citizen. Responsible for coordinating assistance to countries as they develop national AIDS control programs. Joined the World Health Organization in 1974. Previously worked in smallpox eradication and immunization programs.

Dr. Manuel Carballo, 46, director of research and development. British citizen. Joined the World Health Organization in 1977. Previously worked in the organization's maternal and child health program.

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