– the intergovernmental organization through which Member States act together
     on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards.
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World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system. The main areas of the WHO work are health systems; health through the life-course; noncommunicable and communicable diseases; preparedness, surveillance and response; and corporate services.

The WHO Expert Committee for Biological Standardization (ECBS) establishes international standards for biologicals, which act as primary standards for the measurement of biological activity of therapeutic products and for diagnostics. Biological measurements standards are maintained and distributed by WHO custodian laboratories and 95% of these are maintained by the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in the UK. Its Department of Essential Health Technologies supports the use of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy in the developing countries. The WHO is a partner organization with the IAEA supporting the IAEA/WHO Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDLs) worldwide. The WHO also supports a worldwide audit programme of radiotherapy dosimetry in hospitals, using the IAEA TLD system that the BIPM supports by irradiating their dosimeters to known doses.

The BIPM and WHO cooperate to raise awareness within WHO of the issues of metrological traceability and measurement uncertainty, ensure appropriate use of SI units in the standardization of biological measurements and promote the development of reference measurements systems for biological measurements.

Formal relationship:
Links between the BIPM and the WHO:

  • The WHO sponsors the IAEA/WHO SSDL Network to assure radiotherapy dosimetry, particularly in developing countries, and facilitates the measurement of radiotherapy doses in hospitals through the IAEA TLD service, traceable to the BIPM.
  • NIBSC is active in the review teams of the JCTLM and is a Designated Institute, by the UK, under the CIPM MRA.

BIPM contact(s):