The genealogy of WHO and UNICEF and the intersecting careers of Melville Mackenzie (1889-1972) and Ludwik Rajchman (1881-1965)

Macfadyen, David (2014) The genealogy of WHO and UNICEF and the intersecting careers of Melville Mackenzie (1889-1972) and Ludwik Rajchman (1881-1965). MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis traces the antecedents of the World Health Organization (WHO) back to the establishment of the League of Nations in 1920. The 1946 Constitution of WHO specifies two prime functions for the Organization – technical assistance to countries and cooperation with governments to strengthen national health services. The thesis analyses how international health work in the interwar years moved towards these tasks by studying the intersecting careers of Melville Mackenzie and Ludwik Rajchman. The analysis begins with relief and reconstruction in Russia in 1921-1923, extends to technical assistance to Greece and Bolivia in 1928-1930 and concludes with technical cooperation with China over the period 1930 to 1941. The viewpoint of the thesis is that of international staff working within the borders of sovereign states.

The thesis reveals that policy documents drafted by the League of Nations Health Organisation between 1943 and 1945 defined the prime objective of an international health organization as being 'the promoting of health for all'. These documents also provided the basis of the Constitution of WHO, including its frequently-quoted definition of health. Mackenzie presented the WHO Constitution for approval to delegates attending the 1946 International Health Conference in New York and signed it on behalf of the United Kingdom, with authority that was unprecedented for a physician.

The thesis uses a genealogical metaphor in exploring the origins of UNICEF and WHO. This shows the lineage of the former going back to generously funded agencies which supplied countries with health resources and resident international personnel. WHO, which originated from agencies that received scaled contributions from governments, lacked funds to engage, significantly, in technical cooperation with individual countries in the immediate postwar period. In 1948, an enduring and effective cooperation was established between UNICEF and WHO, as a consequence of a rivalry. Mackenzie and Rajchman are shown to have been at the heart of this. The thesis concludes by suggesting that international cooperation with countries to strengthen national health services might be improved by studying the interwar initiatives of Mackenzie and Rajchman.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: World Health/history; International cooperation/history; Public health/history; Public health administration/history; Social medicine/history; Internationality.
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Dupree, Professor Marguerite and Weaver, Professor Lawrence
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Dr. David Macfadyen
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5625
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2014 13:10
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2014 13:11

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