30 JULY 1948, Page 2

W.H.O.: First Meeting

The World Health Organisation has taken two years to come into existence. Its constitution was drawn up in June, 5946 ; but States were slow in paying contributions and ratifying. Now, however, at its first meeting at Geneva, which lasted four weeks and ended on Saturday, with sixty-eight nations participating, it has transacted an impressive amount of business. The Organ- isation itself is to consist of an executive board acting as a central authority ; but there are also to be regional offices working with local Governments and collecting information. In the programme for 5949 (with a budget of £x,25o,000) there are to be six " top priorities," with malaria, tuberculosis and venereal disease coming first ; and, for the six, special divisions are to be established to advise Governments and provide experts for countries request- ing them. Other activities are to include an international influenza centre and a survey of means to increase the production of penicillin and insulin ; and the Organisation has taken an im- portant step in making regulations for the uniform compilation in member countries of data of diseases and causes of death, so that there may be a basis for comparison. Dr. Stampar, who was elected president of the assembly, spoke of W.H.O. as a means of

promoting peace ; and it is significant that he himself, representing Yugoslavia, was elected to office, and that Russia and White Russia, as well as Yugoslavia, are members of the executive board, over which an Egyptian presides. The subject of health is possibly more conducive to friendly feeling than other recent themes of international discussion. W.H.O., if it is given time to prosper, should be a powerful agent not only for health but for good will.