The Policy Research and International Development Directorate’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on ‘Investment for Health and Well-being’ was launched on 14 June.
The directorate was designated an official Collaborating Centre by the World Health Organization in March this year, making it the first and only WHO CC in this area of expertise in the world.
The Collaborating Centre’s official launch event in Cardiff Castle was opened by Public Health Wales Chair, Jan Williams and CEO Tracey Cooper, and was attended by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething AM, who congratulated the organisation on an achievement he considered to be “a source of pride for Wales.”
He said: “This puts Wales in an exciting position to make sustained and continued improvements in people’s health and wellbeing.”
The designation recognises Public Health Wales’ international role in supporting investment in people’s health and well-being and driving sustainable development.
Attendees at the launch included former Public Health Wales Chair, Sir Mansel Aylward CB and Chris Brown, Head ad interim of the WHO Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice.
Addressing the audience, Chris praised Public Health Wales’ long-standing partnership with the WHO, as well as the organisations’ shared vision and priorities for health.
Director of the new Collaborating Centre, Professor Mark Bellis, shared an overview of the work of the Collaborating Centre which, he noted, will draw on expertise from across Public Health Wales and “encourage sectors to work together to take a longer term view of public health.”
Over a 4-year programme of work, the Collaborating Centre will develop, collect and share information, and tools on how best to invest in better health and promote more sustainable policies.
One of the Collaborating Centre’s first tasks is to develop a practical guide to advocacy to support policy makers to make sense of public health intelligence in the context of policy development.
Mark continued: “I’m delighted to be the Director of this new Collaborating Centre and want to say a huge thank you to all of our the amazing team for this great achievement.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we are in Wales for the launch of the first Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being, where we have world-leading policy which obliges us to all to think about the costs and the benefits of how we use public resources.
“We hope to strengthen the impact and reputation of the public health work undertaken in Wales on a national and global scale, drive investment for better health and more equity, and help to support the development of world-leading policies.”
Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of Public Health Wales said: “Today is a really exciting day for us and it marks a great deal of work from across the organisation, but particularly from our Policy, Research and International Development Directorate.”
“It’s a strong recognition, not just for Public Health Wales but for Wales as a nation. To be a WHO Collaborating Centre on ‘Investment for Health and Well-being’ is something that is unique worldwide and with our fantastic legislative environment and partnerships, it will allow us to open doors internationally, share our work and learn through collaboration.”
Jan Williams, Chair of Public Health Wales said: “Board members join with me in congratulating everyone involved in gaining this prestigious WHO Collaborating Centre status, recognising as it does the global reputation that Public Health Wales has built over a number of years.
“We take great pride in that reputation and will be supporting Mark and the Policy, Research and International Development team, together with the wider organisation, to make the most of this exciting opportunity for Wales.“
The Collaborating Centre launch was the culmination of a week of international knowledge sharing for the PRID directorate which saw Mark Bellis, Mariana Dyakova and Sumina Azam contributing to network meetings across Europe.
Mariana introduced the new Collaborating Centre to members of the WHO Europe Regions for Health Network in their 24th annual meeting in Gothenburg on 12 June.
At the EuroHealthNet annual meeting in Brussels, also on 12 June, Consultant in Public Health, Sumina Azam gave a presentation on the social return on investment in public health as a driver for sustainable development.
The WHO Collaborating Centre on ‘Investment for Health and Well-being’ will join a network of over 700 collaborating centres covering different health topics and based in 80 countries worldwide.
Learn more about the Collaborating Centre via the Policy Research and International Development Directorate website .
You can view the presentations delivered at the WHO Europe Regions for Health Network and EuroHealthNet annual meetings below :
(Only in English)