Collaborating centres


Functions and role

The functions of the WHO collaborating centres are divers, and may include the following:

  • collection, collation and dissemination of information;
  • standardization of terminology and nomenclature, of technology, of diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic substances, and of methods and procedures;
  • development and application of appropriate technology;
  • provision of reference substances and other services;
  • participation in collaborative research developed under the Organization's leadership, including the planning, conduct, monitoring and evaluation of research, as well as promotion of the application of the results of research;
  • training, including research training; and
  • the coordination of activities carried out by several institutions on a given subject.

The WHO collaborating centres are an essential and cost-effective cooperation mechanism, which enables the Organization to fulfill its mandated activities and to harness resources far exceeding its own.

WHO gains access to top centres worldwide and the institutional capacity to ensure the scientific validity of global health work. Through these global networks, the Organization is able exercise leadership in shaping the international health agenda.

Conversely, designation as a WHO collaborating centre provides institutions with enhanced visibility and recognition by national authorities, calling public attention to the health issues on which they work. It opens up improved opportunities for them 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.

The main role of the WHO collaborationg centres is to provide strategic support to the Organization to meet two main needs:

  • Implementing WHO's mandated work and programme objectives
  • Developing and strengthening institutional capacity in countries and regions.