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International Health Organizations

A large number of organizations of various sizes provide international health aid. They are a major source of expert technical advice and training for local health professionals. International health organizations are usually divided into three groups: multilateral organizations, bilateral organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Multilateral organizations receive funding from multiple governments (and non-governmental sources) which is distributed to many different countries. All of the major multilateral organizations are part of the United Nations, with the World Health Organization (WHO) being the main one. The WHO predominantly directs and coordinates health activities and supplies technical assistance to countries.

Bilateral agencies are governmental agencies in a single country which provide aid to developing countries. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the largest bilateral agency. Most industrialized nations have their own similar governmental agency. Historical and political reasons often determine which countries receive donations from bilateral agencies, and how much they will receive.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often quite small, and many are church affiliated. They may also be known as private voluntary organizations (PVOs).

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