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About the Network

As of October 2019, there were 50 WHOCCs in Australia, the fifth largest number of WHOCCs in any member state after China, US, India and the UK. These WHOCCs generate widespread positive impacts for health systems and outcomes by making significant contributions to WHO program activities in the region and globally.

These Australian WHOCCs are typically already making significant contributions both domestically and internationally by the time they become designated as CCs. As such, they are repositories of global health perspective and expertise that are sometimes under-utilised or under-recognised by domestic agencies. Responding to this missed opportunity to leverage the WHOCCs more strategically, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has funded the Global Health Alliance Australia to establish a Network over four years to support and promote the WHOCCs based in Australia. Through a national Network, WHOCCs can exchange information, foster good practices, and develop technical cooperation amongst each other and with State and Commonwealth governments.

By establishing a mechanism to support and promote the WHOCCs, the Network intends to build effective partnerships domestically and in the region towards a coordinated and strategic approach to the WHOCCs in Australia. More specifically, the Network aims to achieve the following:

  • Streamlining engagement between the WHO, WHOCCs and State and Commonwealth government departments;
  • Supporting business development, for example through facilitating consortium approaches;
  • Facilitating capacity and professional development opportunities for WHOCCs;
  • Improving program efficiency and effectiveness through collaboration and cooperation;
  • Enhancing health system policy development and foreign policy development by advising and supporting state and federal governments;
  • Sharing knowledge, learning and experiences amongst WHOCCs and across the Australian global health sector.
  • Developing a coordinated effort and strategic approach amongst WHO CCs, promoting efficiency and effectiveness of current and future international health programs.

The Global Health Alliance Australia

The WHOCC Network function, facilitated by the Alliance, is distinct from the responsibilities the Alliance has to member organisations, although many members host WHO Collaborating Centres.

The Global Health Alliance Australia, based in Melbourne, was established by global health leaders to coordinate and create partnerships between organisations that work towards achieving health equity. The Alliance currently has 48 member organisations and fosters partnerships between these members, including universities, medical research institutes and nongovernment organisations. Through partnerships and collaboration, the member organisations encourage and support health equity and health security in our region, utilising and promoting the institutional and disciplinary expertise of members and sponsors.

This funding was made available to the Alliance following two years of advocacy which was in turn supported by the WHO. Consultations were conducted with DFAT, Commonwealth Department of Health, DHHS, and a case was made to establish a Network akin to those in South Korea, Japan and China. The case to have a Network in Australia was based on the very high number of WHOCCs in this country and the advocacy effort was led by the Patron of the Global Health Alliance Advisory Board, the Hon. John Brumby AO.

For the past two years, several options in terms of hosting a Network have been explored and consultations were conducted with many of the Centres. Minutes from those consultations are readily available on request.

The Network is not:

  • Officially mandated or endorsed by the WHO, although the Network does enjoy high-level support from WPRO;
  • Positioned or capable of speaking on behalf of the WHOCCs;
  • A replacement for the existing relationships between the WHO, the Australian Government or the WHOCCs.