A027 Support of the World Health Organization
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring,
That the 80th General Convention express its full support of the World Health Organization in its mission to promote the highest standard of health for all people; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention support the position that the United States of America remain a full member of the Organization; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations to communicate to the leadership of both Houses of Congress and other appropriate governmental agencies the position of The Episcopal Church regarding the World Health Organization and its concern that the independence of the World Health Organization to pursue its global mission not be compromised by partisan national politics and interference, especially as the world responds to the threat of climate change to world health and the effect of pandemics such as Covid-19 on populations with fragile health care systems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations system with 194 member states. Its primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations' system and to lead partners in global health responses, directing and coordinating international health work through collaboration with countries, the United Nations system, international organizations, civil society, foundations, academia, and research institutions.
In 2019, the WHO outlined the top ten threats to global health. The dominant threats are global warming and climate change. Strong threats are heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The WHO also noted the threat of a flu-like pandemic such as Covid-19, although when and where the pandemic would appear could not be predicted. Other threats were vulnerable health care systems and vaccine resistance.
The WHO has led the eradication of smallpox and is instrumental in efforts to control polio, HIV, and tuberculosis. The WHO has improved maternal and child health care worldwide.
In April 2020, the United States suspended financial contributions to the World Health Organization and began procedures to withdraw from the Organization. This resolution seeks to encourage Episcopalians to understand how the World Health Organization exemplifies the healing ministry of Jesus and thus promote the WHO to decision-makers in the United States and throughout all countries of the Episcopal Church as the impact of the WHO affects its global mission partners worldwide.
The Principles of the World Health Organization, stated at the beginning of its Constitution, confirm our baptismal vow to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being”. As the world-wide intergovernmental health organization, the WHO is the leading agency in promoting health for all. While other organizations, governmental and non-governmental, are involved in healthcare and public health, the role of WHO as the lead intergovernmental organization in health and as part of the UN system is crucial.