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General Information on What is a WHO collaborating centre

A WHO collaborating centre (WHO CC) is a national institution designated by the Director-General of the World Health Organisation to form part of an international collaborative network carrying out activities in support of WHO's mandate for international health work and its programme priorities.

An entire institution, or a department or laboratory within an institution, or a group of facilities for reference, research or training belonging to different institutions, may be designated as a "WHO collaborating centre". When a WHO collaborating centre comprises several departments or institutions, only one of these acts for that centre in relation to WHO.

WHO collaborating centres are designated for a limited period of time (up to four years). Designation is based on technical considerations which include geographical and subject relevance. It can be renewed on the basis of review of performance and assessment of the continued relevance of collaboration, taking into consideration WHO's evolving needs and policy. Evaluation, for both designation and redesignation, is carried out through an open and collective process which involves WHO country representatives, Regional Offices and relevant units at headquarters, as well as the governments concerned. Final authority in designating a collaborating centre rests with WHO's Director-General.

Information on the role, functions, criteria for selection and management of WHO collaborating centres is also available at this site and the global database on WHO collaborating centres(currently being developed). (source:


There are a number of WHO collaborating centres in the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Among those is the WHO CC for Health Systems Research and Quality Improvement placed at the IHSR. The IHSR was awarded the status of WHO CC for Health Systems Research since 1988. In 2001, it was awarded a further recognition by its designation as the WHO CC for Health Systems Research and Quality Improvement.

Terms of References :

  • To serve as the national coordinating body for the development of health systems research (HSR);
  • To carry out relevant research, based on the national priorities, and to propose and anticipate in multinational collaborating studies;
  • To provide training in HSR;
  • To support the integration of HSR into managerial processes, and document the related experiences;
  • To provide technical support for institutionalising HSR;
  • To facilitate and provide access to bibliographical resources, both published and fugitive;
  • To transfer the above mentioned experiences and expertise at an inter-country/regional level;
  • To contribute to methodological development and synthesis in this area through participation in the organisation of meetings, panels of experts and advisory groups.
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  • Last Modified: Thursday 23 August 2018.
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