Archives of the League of Nations, Health Section Files
- Reference code : ARC003
- Title : Records of League of Nations : Health Section Files
- Date(s) : 1933-1946
- Level of description : Fonds
- Extent and medium: 1.5 linear m, microfilms
- Accruals : No
- Conditions governing access : Open for consultation subject to the deadlines and restrictions in force at WHO
- Conditions governing reproduction : The archives are subject to WHO author's copyright.
- Finding aids : Paper inventory
- Existence and location of originals : Held at the United Nations Office at Geneva
- Rules or conventions : Descriptive notice in conformity with ISAD(G) norm
Established in Paris in 1908, the International Health Office collected and distributed information from various health departments around the world, though it had no authority to act on its own. In 1922, and in accordance with Article 23 of the Covenant (concerning the prevention and control of disease), the League of Nations Health Committee and Health Section were established. However, these bodies were not associated with the Paris International Health Office because of certain disagreements between the United States of America and some Member States.
Under the leadership of Dr Ludwig Rajchman, Secretary of the newly established Health Committee and the Director of the Health Section, a health programme was initiated with the participation of non-member States such as Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States of America.
In addition to its information service, the Health Section acted as a link between national health administrations in many ways. For example, it extended its support to governments through the promotion of technical assistance, and it advised the Assembly and the Health Council on all international public health questions. For these reasons, it is considered one of the most successful auxiliary organizations of the League of Nations. As a result of the 1922 Warsaw Health Conference, plans were set up to control the spread of epidemic diseases in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean countries, the Far East and the Soviet Union. Soon after, an Eastern Bureau of Epidemiological Information was established in Singapore, a State Serum Institute was set up in Copenhagen and a National Institute for Medical Research was installed in London. Through these institutions, several vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis, for example) were standardized worldwide.
After the demise of the League of Nations, the Health Organization became the World Health Organization (WHO), founded on 7 April 1948 and based in Geneva.
This fonds is made up of microfilm copies of the originals held in the archives of the League of Nations at the United Nations Office at Geneva. It comprises documents dealing in particular with social issues, women's rights, the protection of children, opium and opium trafficking, malaria, the epidemiological service and serums and biological products.
Source : League of Nations : History, In : Site of the Library and Archives of the United Nations Office at Geneva [on line]. http://www.unog.ch/80256EE60057D930/(httpPages)/03F1E1DD124D3276C1256F32002EE3AB?OpenDocument (consulted on 14.09.2006)