This newsletter is brought to you by a WHO Collaborating Centre. As a Collaborating Centre, we are part of a worldwide network of over 700 institutes and organisations from over 80 Member States supporting the World Health Organization in their work. WHO mandate is to provide guidance to Member States for informed policy on health matters. With respect to the evidence-base of such guidance, from the beginning on, the WHO has decided not to establish own research institutions, but to rely on independent institutions, such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated by the Director-General. The Collaborating Centres are centers for expertise focusing on specific themes in the complex field of health, which range from nursing, occupational health, health technologies, communicable and non-communicable diseases, nutrition, outbreak management to mental health.
The WHO is encouraging the Collaborating Centres to develop working relations with other centres and national institutions recognized by WHO, in particular by setting up or joining collaborative networks. To do so, the Collaborating Centres need to exchange information on their work to keep colleagues informed and to become known by the public. In January 2017, the eight European Collaborating Centres working in the field of water have agreed to strengthen their network and increase their visibility. This is thus the first of two dedicated issues, which aims at reflecting this aspiration by collecting information on who the “water” Collaborating Centres are, where they can be found and what is their current focus of work.
The Centres that we present in this and the next issues are very active at the global and the regional level, in particular in the WHO European Region. Their work is not only focused on scientific research, but they support WHO also in capacity-building activities and in the development of guidelines. Most of the presented Centers also support the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health. The Protocol is an international legal agreement, recognized as a tool to “strengthen national action towards progressively reaching regional and global commitments for WASH and health”, as laid out in the Compendium of possible actions to advance the implementation of the Ostrava Declaration by the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health.
We hope that you enjoy reading the factsheets and we encourage our readers to visit the Collaborating Center websites and get in contact with their experts. And if you work on different health topics, I trust there is a Collaborating Centre out there which can address your needs. Using the online database for Collaborating Centres will help you find it.