Our Vision

A global centre of excellence for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and innovation

Our Mission

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

The World Health Organization (WHO) Centre for Health Development (the “WHO Kobe Centre”), was established in Kobe, Japan in 1995 by the WHO Executive Board as a global research centre. The Centre is part of WHO’s Headquarters.       

The Centre supports research, capacity building and information exchange. It also responds to local interests and needs, utilizing international knowledge and experience where appropriate, as well as drawing on local and national expertise for global application.


WKC Strategy 2016 - 2026 & Research Plan 2018-2026

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 provide an extraordinary opportunity for countries to improve the health and welfare of their populations. Progressively attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in countries requires the transformation of health systems to ensure that all people can access comprehensive health services of sufficient quality, without financial hardship.

Director Sarah Louise Barber

Dr Sarah Louise Barber is a health economist and policy specialist, and was appointed as Director in May 2017.

Team Members

The quality of WKC’s staff is its major asset in implementing and managing quality research and carrying out policy analysis.

Advisory Committee

The WHO Director General has appointed the members of the WKC Advisory Committee to advise on strategic issues.

Scientific Working Group

The Scientific Working Group is key to research quality assurance and reviews specific technical proposals.

25th Anniversary in 2020

WKC’s legacy: 25 years of contributions to local and international health work.

Achievement Reports

WHO Kobe Centre’s Biennium Achievements Report showcase our key activities.

History and Timeline

A background on the origins and development of the center, together with a chronology.

Where We Are

WHO Kobe Centre is located in the HAT Kobe area of Kobe City. See contact details, an access map, and more.