Bulletin of the World Health Organization

2018: The 70th anniversary of the Bulletin

Cover of the Bulletin from 1947
Volume 1, issue 1 of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1947/1948.

Reactions to the smallpox vaccine, malaria control, tuberculosis in Greece, rodent infestation in ships …these were some of the burning issues of the day when Volume 1, Number 1 of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization was published in January 1948.

In its second issue, the journal’s coverage of the cholera epidemic in Egypt in September 1947 now forms an important historical record of the first emergency outbreak dealt with by the newly founded WHO.

The WHO Bulletin’s conception in 1946 was as a mere agenda item discussed at meetings of the Interim Commission that was charged with establishing a United Nations international health agency.

The commission called for the journal to be developed as a “substantial publication of the highest standard” and “a vehicle for significant studies, from whatever source, on all subjects which are of relevance to the international approach to health problems”.

Within the first 10 years, the WHO Bulletin established itself as an authoritative source of international public health information.

Now 70 years’ later, the journal is one of the most-cited public, environmental and occupational health journals.