Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Global Partnerships: A network of networks

A global challenge needs a global team. Global health security needs the involvement of many collaborators; no single entity can bring it about on its own. Global partnerships are the foundation for the work of CSR. CSR works with formal and informal networks, to collect and analyse information, develop resources and tools and to assist countries implement activities.

WHO Collaborating Centres

What they are

WHO has established a long-standing global partnership with leading national public health, medical and academic institutions through its international networks of research laboratories and centres of excellence that are designated as WHO Collaborating Centres.
The partnership is based on the 1949 World Health Assembly policy that WHO would not establish international laboratories and research cetnres under its own auspices but would carry out its work by assisting, coordinating and making use of the activities of existing national institutions and laboratories.

What they do

Emerging and other communicable diseases: Distribution of WHO Collaborating Centres

Over 150 collaborating centres and laboratories work worldwide in close partnership with CSR to contain the global threats posed by epidemic-prone viral and bacterial diseases, emerging infections and drug resistant pathogens. Between three and ten centres are designated for an area of specialty, disease or syndrome and support our work in that area. The partnerships include networks of centres designated for specialty areas as diverse as dengue, arbovirus and viral haemorrhagic fevers, anthrax, plague, drug resistant pathogens and hospital infections.

The centres provide technical expertise and services to CSR in all areas of our work, including surveillance and information gathering, establishing global standards, providing diagnostic laboratory services and conducting epidemic response and research. They participate actively in our efforts to strengthen the capacity in countries for surveillance and laboratory confirmation of priority infectious diseases through provision of training, guidelines and standards, reagents, equipment and supplies, advice and follow-up. They also advocate for WHO strategies and activities.

Although these centres are distributed worldwide in all WHO regions, technical and geographical gaps remain. CSR, working with WHO Regional Offices, works to increase the number of centres, especially in geographic regions that have few specialized laboratories and to focus its efforts in those countries where disease outbreaks frequently occur.

Strengthening the partnership

CSR is linking its collaborating centres via the Internet through a searchable database of their capabilities and making this information widely available to the Centres, the WHO Member States, the public health community and the public.

CSR's partners providing support

We gratefully acknowledge the financial contributions to our work from the following countries and organizations (in alphabetical order):

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • the Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

UN organizations and agencies

  • UNAIDS
  • United Nations Children's Fund

Other contributors

  • Aventis Pasteur
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Fondation Mérieux
  • NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative) United States
  • Rockefeller Foundation

We have received contributions in kind, including equipment and staff secondments from:

  • Aventis Pasteur
  • France
  • France, Urban Community of Lyon
  • Italy, Spallanzani Hospital
  • the Netherlands
  • United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • United States, Department of Health and Human Services
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Find out about WHOCC_Net, CDS/CSR's searchable database of the capabilities of WHO collaborating centres and laboratories working worldwide on communicable diseases