The Centre and its mission:
A global research centre focusing on health systems responses to accelerate Universal Health Coverage in the context of population ageing, and health emergencies and disaster risk management.
The 4th Annual Internal WHO Meeting of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Focal Points and the 5th Core Group of the WHO Thematic Platform for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Research Network (Health EDRM RN) were held on 13 and 14 November 2023 in Kobe, Japan.
The DRR Focal Points from WHO all six Regional Offices, HQ DRR Unit and WHO Kobe Centre, shared overview of achievements in 2023 and discussed opportunities and priorities for 2024 to strengthen DRR activities in WHO offices and countries.
Following the successful DRR Focal Points meeting on 13th November, WKC hosted the 5th Core Group Meeting of the WHO Health EDRM RN as its Secretariat on 14th November. Co-chaired by Professor Virginia Murray and Professor Jonathan Abrahams, the WHO DRR Focal Points and Japanese experts participated in this meeting and discussed strategic direction of Health EDRM RN to further foster international research collaboration for advancing Health EDRM research activities.
Meeting summary report for the Core Group Meeting will be available soon.
The WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre – WKC) hosted the 27th annual meeting of the Advisory Committee (ACWKC) at its offices in Kobe, Japan for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The meeting took place on 15 – 16 November 2023.
The ACWKC is appointed by the WHO Director-General (DG) to represent WHO’s six regions, the host country, local community, and donor group.1 It advises the DG and WKC’s Director on strategic priorities, gives guidance on strengthening research programmes and local engagement, and makes recommendations for the way forward.
WKC’s Director, Dr Sarah Barber, welcomed a new member this year, Dr Felipe Cruz Vega, head of coordination of special projects in health of the Mexican Social Security Institute, who represents the WHO Region of the Americas.
The Chair of the ACWKC, Dr Viroj Tangcharoensathien, Senior Advisor, International Health Policy Programme of the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, said that WKC’s three research portfolios of service delivery and financing, metrics and measurement, and health emergencies and disaster risk management (Health-EDRM) were globally relevant and synchronised with global health policy directions.
The Centre has been driving research on unmet healthcare needs. This key area for achieving universal health coverage (UHC) has generated evidence on financing policy choices for healthy population ageing and long-term care, which were “innovative and ahead of the curve”. This work directly addresses the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA76.42 which, among others, requested the DG to review the importance and feasibility of using unmet healthcare need as an additional indicator for monitoring UHC.
The Health EDRM guidance, through global engagement of expertise and capacity building, directly contributes to the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. WKC’s work has supported the implementation of Health EDRM in Member States.
WKC’s work responds to global policy priorities and local needs. The ACWKC were impressed with collaborations between the Centre and researchers in the Kansai region, such as the multi-year Kobe Dementia Study which supported the development of a Kobe City Ordinance on being a Dementia-Friendly City. This research informed specific elements of the Ordinance, especially screening, early detection, and reducing dementia progression.
The ACWKC concluded with recommendations for WKC’s continued contributions to global health and the local Kansai community. The meeting report will be released shortly.
The WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Center – WKC) will jointly conduct a research project with the Japan Agency for Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) and Kobe City on the effects of behavioral changes during the pandemic on the health among the residents of Kobe, Japan. During the early stages of the pandemic, many people did not get the healthcare they needed because of fear of COVID-19 infection, imposed restrictions on movement, or unaffordability of care. In Japan, studies have shown that it was common for older people to adopt unhealthy lifestyles during the pandemic related to their diet, physical activity or social activity, thereby increasing their risks for poor health outcomes.
In this project, Kobe City’s administrative data on medical care, long-term care and public health services use and population health survey data will be analyzed, including data from a survey conducted in October-December 2023.
The findings of this research will inform policy recommendations to Kobe City for addressing the health risks to its citizens, with implications for other settings.
Please refer to the project page for more details.
Photo credit: WHO / Until Chan
ASEAN is committed to Disaster health management (DHM) by strengthening regional cooperation and national capacity in preparedness for and in response to health-related aspects of disasters and health emergencies. The Second ASEAN Academic Conference on DHM was held on 17th-19th October 2023 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to promote education and academic activities through active academic networks and knowledge-sharing which was stated as one of the priority actions in the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management.
The Conference invited many stakeholders, including ASEAN member states, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), Japanese Association of Disaster Medicine (JADM) and WHO. The Conference theme was: Knowledge Co-Creation for Resilient Disaster Health Management towards “One ASEAN One Response’’. It served as a great platform to share knowledge and scientific insights, and to discuss possible future collaboration on response capacity building and research promotion through strengthening networks in the region.
Dr Ryoma Kayano, Technical Officer of the WHO Kobe Center (WKC), attended the Conference and stressed the importance of establishing active networks to achieve enhanced regional collaboration and to strengthen the national capacity of ASEAN countries. WKC has started planning a WKC Forum for February 2024 to reflect the results of the Conference and to continue the momentum of the active networks.
More information about the Conference can be found here.
WHO Thematic Platform for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Research Network (Health EDRM RN) aims to coordinate cross-regional and international knowledge sharing to effectively build scientific evidence that informs Health EDRM policies and programmes. In time with the Research Network’s core group meeting taking place in Kobe, Japan, the WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre – WKC) will organise a thematic forum on Health EDRM on 14 November. The Forum is expected to bring together experts from the Kansai region and all over Japan to share ongoing initiatives and promote knowledge exchange between global and Japanese experts.
WKC FORUM 2023 TECHNICAL EXPERTS MEETING “2024 research strategy for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health EDRM): breaking silos and promote cross-sectional approach”
Date and Time: 13:00-17:00, 14 November 2023
Venue: Auditorium, 1F Gallery Block, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan
*Please note that the forum will not be held online
Meeting language: English
More details on the programmes can be found here
A global centre of excellence for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and innovation
To promote innovation and research for equitable and sustainable UHC, building on our comparative advantage in the areas of UHC, health financing, ageing and health emergency and disaster risk management, and drawing on lessons from Japan and the Asia Pacific Region and more widely to inform global policy development
March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day. This year, the WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre -WKC) is researching policies about long-term care (LTC) and the impact on women across their lifespans.