Developing World Health Organization international guidelines is a highly formal process. Yet the resulting guidelines, which Member States are encouraged, but not required to adopt, are a powerful way of developing rigorous policy and fostering implementation. Using the example of the housing and health guidelines, which are currently being finalised, this paper outlines the process for developing WHO guidelines. This includes: forming a Guidelines Review Group that represents all regions of the world, and ensures gender balance and technical expertise; identifying key health outcomes of interest; commissioning systematic reviews of the evidence; assessing the evidence; and formulating recommendations. The strength of each recommendation is assessed based on the quality of the evidence, along with consideration of issues such as equity, acceptability, and feasibility of the implementation of the recommendation. The proposed housing guidelines will address: cold and hot indoor temperatures, home injuries, household crowding, accessibility and access to active travel infrastructure.
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