WHO has proposed the creation of ".health" to join the small group of Internet top-level domains (TLDs) such as ".com" and ".org" that currently help users locate websites in their chosen field of interest.
What do you think about GastroHep.health?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) says that more TLDs are needed urgently to cope with the Web's rapid expansion.
Many national and international health groups have expressed support for the WHO proposal and are hopeful that ".health" will be approved by ICANN, who meet this week in Los Angeles, USA.
At present there are more than 10 000 health sites on the Internet. Navigating through these can be difficult, and accuracy and reliability of the information cannot be guaranteed. There is no way of making information providers adhere to any code of practice.
If the proposal is accepted, WHO, as the sponsoring organization, would have the responsibility to set policy on how the ".health" TLD - is distributed and used.
WHO's intention is that ".health" will immediately identify the domain-name holder as adhering to agreed quality and ethical standards, thereby instilling confidence and security in the information provided. Such standards would emerge from international consultations WHO would initiate with governments, medical associations, consumer groups, the health industry and others.
Dr Joan Dzenowagis, the main formulator of the WHO proposal, said, "As the recognized leading international agency in health, and with over 50 years' experience in setting standards, WHO is uniquely qualified to do this."