WHO partnering with UN Volunteers


Since 1973, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been partnering with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to provide basic social services, primary health care and combat diseases through awareness and prevention. Some 143 UN Volunteers have served in 46 countries over the past ten years, supporting WHO’s mission to "promote health, keep people safe, serve the vulnerable".

Silvia Illescas (right) is an international UN Volunteer from Nicaragua, serving as Health Advocacy and Coordination Officer with WHO in Lao PDR. (UNV, 2018)

UN Volunteers are experienced personnel available to support WHO’s mandate. As medical doctors, nurses, and policy specialists, UN Volunteers are skilled professionals in the field of medical and health services. UN Volunteers support WHO’s strategic planning for joint programming on issues that include bolstering the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and promoting health through life courses to reduce morbidity in Viet Nam. They are often deployed to many locations throughout a country to meet the needs of local populations.

UN Volunteers also support health systems with a focus on the organization of integrated service delivery, supporting preparedness and creating effective responses to disease outbreaks. UN Volunteers in the field often ensure organizational leadership and corporate services that are required to maintain the integrity and efficient functioning of field operations.

The first mobilization of UN Volunteers in WHO’s projects dates back to 1973, when an Engineering Draftsman and a Nurse were assigned to projects in the Cook Islands and the Central African Republic. Today, UN Volunteers continue to contribute to WHO programmes in a wide range of health-related fields such as: lab and x-ray technology, public health, nursing, family health, and nutrition support, general and specialized medical practice, maternal and child health, family planning, health services and manpower development, sanitation and drinking water supply, research and statistics.

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