Publications for a Healthier World

Yue Min, one of the MA in Publishing students at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, has been in Geneva this summer undertaking an internship at the World Health Organisation.  This is what she reports:

‘Everyone will be impressed and inspired by the WHO (World Health Organization) emblem at the first sight. So was I. I've been lucky to get the chance to do an internship in WHO Press this summer. What a beautiful thing to enjoy the fresh air and peaceful scenery in the green land of the UN area in Geneva every morning!

‘Publications for a healthier world - it's not only the mission of WHO Press but also the duty of WHO Press. As a world leading international health agency, World Health Organization works closely with the ministries of health of the Organization's 193 member states in all parts of the world. World Health Organization Press is a non-profit publisher which covers a wide range of health issues through its many projects and programs.


‘While working in the rights team, I started to figure out the big difference between commercial publishers and non-profit publishers. The primary aim of WHO's publishing operation is to build a healthier world. WHO's publications range from small pamphlets to multi-volume works. They include up-to-date guidelines, expert meeting reports, a wide spectrum of global norms and standards, newsletters, and the world's premier public health journal. Each year, WHO issues upwards of 400 books and documents on a range of health topics that include infectious diseases, chronic illness, mental health, disability and injury, nutrition, healthy lifestyle, healthy environments, pharmaceuticals, emergency care, and health service planning. And they are translated and published in many countries under licence. Both commercial publishers and non-profit bodies make WHO information available in this way in their local languages to audiences that are beyond the reach of WHO's traditional publication activities. Income is used to subsidize WHO books for developing countries. Sometimes WHO offers its publications free of charge to some developing countries.

‘Next year is the 60th anniversary of World Health Organization. WHO Press is doing a celebration book of poster collections from all over the world focused on public health campaigns. They are in different languages and cover different aspects of public health. One of my assignments has been to collect posters and select the most meaningful and wonderful posters for the book with another intern. It's amazing to see so many posters combining the public health topic with the art of design, and telling the history of world public health campaign in different languages.

'At the same time, I'm doing research work for a project which FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) consigned WHO Press to recommend suitable official organizations, universities, research centers or publishing houses to be the future co-operation partners.

‘As the official language of the UN in Switzerland is French, it took me some time to suit the "FRENCH" life here - reading French news, listening French conversation, enjoying the French culture - and finally I can speak a little French for daily life. It's another improvement. I really appreciate the opportunity to work and live in the World Health Organization which let me know more knowledge other than publishing. Now I can understand the real meaning of "work for health".'

Yue Min was joined in Geneva this summer by Helen Habernickel, who was interning at the International Labour Office.


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 20 Aug 2007 around 12pm

Filed Under Publishing