WHO Collaborating Centres Over 800 institutions… ...in more than 80 countries…

WHO Collaborating Centres
Over 800 institutions…
...in more than 80 countries…
...supporting WHO programmes
8th Meeting of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating
Centres for Occupational Health
19-23 October 2009 in WHO Headquarters, Geneva
Matias Tuler
An early model of collaboration in health
The Second World Health Assembly (1949) laid
down the policy (which has been constantly
followed since) that WHO should not consider the
establishment, under its own auspices, of
research institutions. Instead, it was considered
that research in the field of health is best
advanced by coordinating and making use of
existing institutions. This is how the concept of
WHO collaborating centre was developed.
What are the WHO collaborating
The WHO collaborating centres are (parts of) institutions
designated by the Director-General to carry out activities
in support of the Organization's programmes.
Most of these institutions are part of a university, research
laboratory, scientific academies, MoH, or hospital.
The designation is a time-limited contract between WHO
and the designated institution, and it includes concrete
A few examples
Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centres
in over 80 Member States
Number of
Usual misconceptions about the
Collaborating Centres
The designation as a WHO collaborating centre is not:
-- a certification of excellence, or
-- a prize or award.
The designation as a WHOCC is a mechanism by which the
Director-General of WHO recognizes past collaborative work
with WHO and provides a legal framework for future
collaborative work with WHO, i.e. the agreed activities of the
four-year work plan.
The decision for new designations and redesignations is based
on technical considerations and made on a need bases.
Member States
set the WHO
WHO Secretariat
implements the
CCs help WHO
Secretariat to
implement the
Roles and incentives
Role: to provide strategic support to WHO to meet two main needs:
 implementing WHO’s mandated work and programme objectives, and
 developing and strengthening institutional capacity in countries and
For the WHOCCs
gain enhanced visibility and recognition by national authorities, calling public
attention to the health issues on which they work;
 obtain improved opportunities to exchange information and develop technical
cooperation with other institutions, in particular, at international level, and to
mobilize additional and sometimes important resources from funding partners;
gain access to top centres worldwide and their institutional capacity to ensure the
scientific validity of global health work.
 exercise leadership through these global networks in shaping the international
health agenda.
Designations and redesignations
All centres are designated by the Director-General of
WHO on recommendation of a WHO programme, after
successful completion of several years of collaboration
with WHO in carrying out jointly planned activities.
The designation is a time limited contractual relation
between the institution and WHO. It is originally given for
a period of four years, and it is renewable for the same
or shorter periods, if warranted by programme
requirements and the results of an evaluation.
Designation is independent of financial support being
given to the institution by WHO.
Criteria of the designation
high scientific and technical standing of the institution
concerned at the national and international levels;
prominent place of the institution in the country's health,
scientific or educational structures;
high quality of its scientific and technical leadership of the
staff of the institution;
stability in terms of personnel, activity and funding;
strong working relationship with other institutions in the
country, as well as at the intercountry, regional and global
clear ability, capacity and readiness to contribute to WHO
programme activities;
successful completion of at least two years of collaboration
with WHO in carrying out jointly planned activities.
Responsibilities of the
WHO collaborating centres
The following are the responsibilities of the institution when it is
designated as a WHO collaborating centre:
implementing their agreed plan of work in a timely manner
and to the highest possible standards of quality;
bringing to the attention of the responsible officer any issue
that can delay or compromise the implementation of the
following WHO regulations and policies on interaction with the
private sector, ethical reviews and clinical trials, when relevant
for their agreed workplans;
following the conditions for the use of the WHO name and
submitting annual progress reports via eCC when requested
on the anniversary of the designation date;
discussing with their responsible officer the possibility of a
redesignation when the current period of designation is
coming to an end.
WHO policy about the interaction of WHO
collaborating centres and the private sector
Institutions proposed for (re)designation as a WHO collaborating
centre (or the legal entities of which they form part) should not
accept funding from companies with business activities that are
incompatible with WHO's work (such as tobacco companies) for any
activities that fall within the TORs and/or plan of work.
Similarly, institutions should not accept funding from companies that
have, or may be perceived as having, a direct commercial interest in
the outcome of the centre's activities. For example, funds should not
be accepted from a drug manufacturer for an activity relating to the
treatment of a disease.
Caution should be exercised in accepting financing from companies
that have even an indirect interest in the outcome of an activity (e.g.
in the case of an activity relating to the epidemiology of a disease,
caution should be exercised in accepting funds from a manufacturer
of drugs for the disease).
New electronic system
Since June 2007 WHO has put in place a new electronic
system to process the re/designations of the WHO
Collaborating Centres. This is mostly an internal system of
WHO, however the centres are requested to use the
system at two specific occasions:
1) Submission of annual progress reports, once a year at
the anniversary of the date of re/designation.
2) Submission of the re/designation form at the occasion of
the original designation or redesignation
Fore more information, or to answer queries, please contact
Ms Claire Duchesne (phone 13820) during this week.
Ways of working
Historically, the WHOCC worked quite isolated from
each other, on one-to-one relationships with WHO.
That way of working started to change in the early 90s
with WHO coordinating activities involving several
centres as well as some centres developing joint
activities among themselves.
Ways of working: Networks
In January 2000 the Executive Board encouraged WHO
CCs to develop working relations with other centres by
setting up or joining collaborative networks with WHO’s
As of 2008 several networks of WHOCCs have been
established, mostly organized around a common
technical area of work.
WHO CCs for Occupational Health
Global Network of WHO CCs for Nursing & Midwifery Development
Global Environment Monitoring System - Food Contamination
Monitoring and Assessment Programme (GEMS/Food)
Global Network of WHO CCs working on Communicable Diseases
WHO CCs for Tobacco Control
WHO CCs for Radiation / REMPAN network
WHO CCs for International Classifications
WHO CCs for Traditional Medicine
WHO CCs for Injuries and Violence Prevention
WHO CCs for Health Promotion
Under the general coordination of WHO, each of these
networks has developed a different way of working and
implementing their agreed work with WHO, as well as getting
engaged in other activities beyond the collaboration with
Whereas in some networks WHO has taken a more active
role, in other cases WHO limits its participation to provide the
framework for the members of the network to interact.
For instance, the Global Network of WHO CCs for Nursing &
Midwifery Development selects one of the CCs of the network on a
rotating bases to become the Secretariat of the network for four
years and help the WHO Secretariat in supporting and monitoring the
implementation of the agreed activities.
Benefits & challenges
In comparison with the bilateral way of working, the networks of WHOCCs have
shown the following benefits:
Better alignment with WHO's programmes;
Activities with a greater global application and impact;
• Coordination of activities requires less time from WHO staff;
• New peer-to-peer opportunities for the centres beyond their agreed work with
WHO, new synergies. Improved motivation for the centres.
At the same time, the following challenges are often mentioned:
• Coordination of networks with a large number of CC is sometimes difficult;
Delegation of some coordinating functions to area managers may be
• Linking the activities of the workplan of a CC with the activities of another CC
is not always easy and requires advanced planning;
• Sometimes a member of the network may become too powerful in detriment
of the others;
• Keeping momentum and cohesion is a constant challenge
• Unless specifically agreed by WHO, the activities of the network should not go
beyond the agreed activities with each of its members.
Find the Collaborating Centres!
The WHO collaborating centres Database is the
official source of information about the WHO
collaborating centres worldwide. It can be
accessed at:
WHOCC code: SUD-11
The title as a WHOCC
The head of the WHOCC
Department & institution
Period of designation
Responsible officer
Technical counterpart
Thank you very much for your
attention !