WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Image: AP/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Founded in 1948, the UN health agency has been dragged into a geopolitical storm over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia and other western countries have not followed Donald Trump’s lead on defunding the World Health Organisation (WHO), but there’s been plenty of anti-WHO noises from local politicians.

So how did the WHO come to be perceived like this? And is the criticism warranted?