The World Health Organization: A history

May 2018

Coming soon! The book will be released by Cambridge University Press in May 2019.

The book The World Organization: A history, written by Marcos Cueto  (science editor of HCSM), Theodore M. Brown (University of Rochester) and Elizabeth Fee (in memorian, National Library of Medicine) was released by Cambridge University Press.

This comprehensive book explores the history of the World Health Organization  looking at it’s origins and institutional antecedents, while also considering its contemporary and future roles.

It examines how the WHO was shaped by the postwar period and the Cold War, the influence of the US and other approaches to healthcare, and its place alongside sometimes competing international bodies such as UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation.

The authors re-evaluate the relative success and failure of critical WHO campaigns, from early malaria and smallpox eradication programs to struggles with Ebola today.


Advance praise: ‘Finally, an up-to-date history of the World Health Organization. This deft account spans the institution’s aspirational post-World War II beginnings, the tensions and turnarounds of the Cold War period, and the embattled contemporary era of private encroachment on WHO turf. The authors bring together the contentious politics, personae, and programs through a grand narrative and little-known inside stories.’ Anne-Emanuelle Birn – University of Toronto

Advance praise: ‘This long-awaited volume by three distinguished historians of public health, does not disappoint. Though the general lines of this history are familiar, this extensively researched, clearly written volume greatly enriches this history, providing new details on nearly every page, and situating the WHO within the wider history of global political change.’ Randall Packard – The Johns Hopkins University

See in Manguinhos:

In Memoriam: Dr. Elizabeth Fee – We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Elizabeth Fee on October 17, 2018. Dr. Fee was a remarkable and influential public health historian.

“Entre 30 y 35% de los diagnósticos son muy tardíos” – Una breve entrevista con Massimo Ghidinelli, Jefe de la Unidad de VIH de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud, sobre el perfil epidemiológico actual del SIDA en América Latina y el Caribe.

Una enfermedad sin precedentes en las Américas – José Moya,epidemiologo de la OPS/OMS Argentina, analiza las respuestas de los gobiernos de América Latina al zika y las consecuencias reveladas por la enfermedad.

Health is not a commodity – See the Brazilian Contribution (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and National Health Council) to the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, Astana, October 2018.

A divided US: The unexpected electoral victory of Trump – Theodore Brown, professor of history at the University of Rochester analyses the victory of Donald Trump and the reactions of the progressive political forces in the US.

Brown, Theodore M., Cueto, Marcos and Fee, Elizabeth. A transição de saúde pública ‘internacional’ para ‘global’ e a Organização Mundial da Saúde. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, Set 2006, vol.13, no.3, p.623-647. ISSN 0104-5970

Cueto, Marcos. La “cultura de la sobrevivencia” y la salud pública internacional en América Latina: la Guerra Fría y la erradicación de enfermedades a mediados del siglo XX. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, Mar 2015, vol.22, no.1.


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