WHO Collaborating Centers
World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centers are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities, or academies, which are designated by the WHO Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organization's programs. Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centers in over 80 Member States working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies.1
The Global Health Security Branch houses two WHO collaborating centers:
- The WHO Collaborating Center for Implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR) Core Capacities; and
- The WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Informatics
Together with WHO, the Collaborating Centers work on a wide variety of activities in support of their Terms of Reference.
The WHO Collaborating Center for Implementation of IHR Core Capacities
The revised IHR (2005) require all 194 WHO Member States to develop core capacities for monitoring, detecting, reporting, and responding to potential public health events of national and international concern. The WHO Collaborating Center for Implementation of IHR Core Capacities provides policy and technical assistance to WHO to support ministries of health in achieving compliance with the IHR (2005). The Collaborating Center also engages with other U.S. Government agencies and CDC programs to assist countries in strengthening the core functions required by the IHR (2005).
Terms of Reference for support of WHO and WHO Member States to:
- Establish and maintain multi-hazard preparedness, including for pandemic, surveillance, and response capacities according to their respective strategic and work plans.
- Establish and maintain skilled human resources in field epidemiology, laboratory methods, and biosafety and quality assurance systems practices, including through training and according to their respective strategic and work plans.
- Develop and maintain risk communication capacity, including through training and according to their respective strategic and work plans.
- Implement cost-effective models for surveillance and response at designated points of entry, including through the provision of advice to WHO Major Offices.
- Manage specific public health risks related to emerging infectious diseases.
Representative activities include provision of training and education; implementation of WHO programs and activities at the country level; and providing technical advice and assistance to WHO. Additionally, the Collaborating Center coordinates responses to requests for assistance from WHO to provide technical assistance to Member States related to all aspects of IHR implementation.
The WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Informatics
The WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Informatics was established in 2010 to carry out activities in support of WHO’s obligations to assist Member States in meeting a range of global health goals and objectives. It is focused on the proper application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Public Health Informatics (PHI) to global health information systems. It is only one collaboration center designated for public health informatics.2
Terms of Reference:
- Support informatics efforts pertaining to the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) framework in national programs participating within Africa.
- Augment WHO/KMS eHealth unit efforts in cataloguing of existing eHealth and Health Information System standards; developing eHealth Information Standards assessment tool; developing a Roster of Experts in health data standards; and developing recommendations for minimum data standards for routine disease surveillance systems.
- Enhance global informatics science and scientific exchange through support to an annual event for health information exchange.
Representative activities include development and application of appropriate technology; product development (such as guidelines, manuals, and methodologies); and support to outbreak and emergency responses.