As a Specialized Institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for health issues, the West African Health Organisation was created by Protocol A/P2/7/87 of 9 July 1987 signed in Abuja by the Heads of State and Government. WAHO’s Headquarters is located in Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso.
Article III of the Protocol establishing WAHO stipulates that “the objective of the West African Health Organisation shall be the attainment of the highest possible standard and protection of health of the peoples in the sub-region through the harmonisation of the policies of the Member States, pooling of resources, and cooperation with one another and with others for a collective and strategic combat against the health problems of the sub-region".
Thus, by its founding protocol, WAHO is entrusted with a political mandate by the Heads of State and Government to ensure coordination of regional health interventions within the ECOWAS region.
The overall objective of WAHO is, together with the other Community Institutions, to contribute to the attainment of the ideal of the creation of an Economic Union of West Africa, in accordance with Article 3 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty.