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Article
August 5, 1983

The Origins of the World Health Organization: A Personal Memoir, 1945-1948

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

JAMA. 1983;250(5):674. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340050078037
Abstract

This short monograph is an account of what took place behind the scenes from the time the World Health Organization was conceived as an idea in 1945 until its birth in 1948. The author, a Chinese physician (known for the important role he played during those formative years), was then on the staff of the United Nations' Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Subsequently, he filled several key positions and, with a missionary zeal, took up the cause of the WHO. Being one of the few charter participants still living, he felt impelled to open his diary and share with the reader his recollections, thereby filling a gap in knowledge and setting records straight.

The idea of a single health organization that was to be part of the UN framework and at the same time, independent of it was difficult to sell. Nevertheless, it has proved extremely foresighted, for, against all odds,

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