The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on ‘Investment for Health and Wellbeing’ (WHO CC), at Public Health Wales has been re-designated for another four years, securing its vital work into improving people’s health and wellbeing in Wales and beyond, until 2026.
The Centre is the first and only WHO CC in this area of expertise in the world, part of a global network of more than 800 Collaborating Centres in more than 80 countries.
Over the past four years, the Collaborating Centre has developed, synthesized and shared information, international guidance, actionable intelligence, practical tools and approaches on how to invest in a more sustainable way to improve people’s wellbeing, reduce inequity, and build stronger, more resilient communities, economies and planet.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan MS, said;
“This is a milestone for Wales. The centre has been instrumental in positioning Wales as a global influencer, championing innovative policies and solutions to make continuous improvement in people’s health and wellbeing.
“The Welsh Government is working to ensure a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, putting people’s wellbeing, equality and prosperity at the heart. The WHO CC has been supporting us in this work, bringing international learning to inform policies and implement our Memorandum of Understanding with the WHO towards building healthy prosperous lives for all in Wales and beyond.”
A milestone achievement of the Collaborating Centre is establishing for the first time an innovative WHO health equity initiative on a national level, delivering to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Welsh Government and the WHO. The (Welsh Health Equity Status Report initiative (WHESRi) - International Health (phwwhocc.co.uk) provides a platform to inform, facilitate and support evidence- and stakeholder-informed, cross-sector collaborative solutions and investment towards closing the health gap in Wales and beyond.
In the re-designation letter, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, thanked the institution for the valuable contribution made during its previous period of designation and said that he was looking forward to a continuing successful collaboration.
Ms Chris Brown, Head of the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice Italy and focal point for the Collaborating Centre, highlighted the long-standing partnership with Public Health Wales’ to advance National and Pan European priorities for protecting, improving and investing in population health and wellbeing.
She said: “We are pleased to work closely with the WHO CC, which after four challenging years has established itself as a strong partner with WHO expertise, developing and applying new approaches and tools, and ensuring active links with policy and decision-makers on a global, European, national and subnational levels to progress our shared wellbeing and equity agenda.”
The new WHO CC 4-year programme of work focuses on providing scientific and policy evidence and expertise to build capacity and implement effective inter-sectoral policies for health and equity across the life course. It also plans to innovate and harness economic and multi-disciplinary tools and approaches to support building an Economy of Wellbeing in Wales, exploring and identifying solutions to the global challenges of widening health gap and socio-economic disparities, COVID-19 response and recovery and climate change.
Professor Mark A Bellis OBE, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre at Public Health Wales, said:
“Over the next four years we hope to continue strengthening the impact and reputation of the public health work undertaken in Wales on a national and global scale. Building on the work we have already undertaken we will support development of world-leading policies that drive investment for better, more equitable health and for safe and nurturing childhoods that increase health throughout the life course.
“I’m delighted to be continuing to direct our World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and want to say a huge thank you to all of the amazing team for this great achievement, as well as to our Welsh and international partners without whom this work would not be possible.”
Dr Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of Public Health Wales said:
“The re-designation is a strong recognition, not only for Public Health Wales but for Wales as a nation, of our impact on the global health agenda. The WHO CC has helped to improve the wider understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and other critical challenges, such as climate change and Brexit and is supporting a sustainable and fair recovery in Wales.”
“I am looking forward to continuing to work with colleagues and experts worldwide, to maximise the benefits of international learning and innovation for the people of Wales, as well as enhancing our role and impact on the global health agenda.”