About WHO Collaborating Centres
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) strategic priorities and technical workplans guide WHO activities and programs across the world. WHO Collaborating Centres (WHOCCs) are institutions such as parts of research institutes, universities or government-associated agencies, which are designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of these efforts. The WHO relies on the expertise and advice of WHO Collaborating Centres (WHOCC) to deliver on the priorities and execute its workplans. Currently there are around 800 WHOCCs in over 80 member countries, that support the WHO’s implementation agenda across a wide range of activities in partnership with the WHO. According to the WHO, “[Collaborating Centres] represent a valuable resource as an extended and integral arm of WHO’s capacity to implement its mandated work.”
As of June 2023, there are 54 WHOCCs in Australia, the highest number per capita in the world. These WHOCCs generate widespread and positive impacts for health systems and outcomes. As a recognition of long-term collaboration and mutual benefit, the WHOCC designation highlights the significant contributions made by the WHOCCs to public health both internationally and domestically.
Nonetheless, there is an important gap in the understanding, communication and collaboration between the Australian WHOCCs that can be addressed. In addition, as repositories of global health expertise, there is a need to heighten the visibility of the WHOCCs to domestic audiences and agencies.
About the WHO Network
The Australian Network of WHO Collaborating Centres Network was established in 2019 following an extensive scoping phase, undertaken by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Australian Global Health Alliance, DFAT and the Federal Department of Health.
Responding to the opportunity to use the WHOCC resource more strategically, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) funded the Australian Global Health Alliance to establish a Network over an initial four year period to support and promote the WHOCCs based in Australia. Through a national Network, the WHOCCs are able to exchange information, foster good practices, and develop technical cooperation amongst each other, and with the state and Commonwealth governments and other relevant stakeholders. In addition, the Network helps facilitate greater understanding and use of expertise, in-country experience and global networks by governments and other entities.