World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Women’s Health

My research is largely around violence against women but also around sexual and reproductive health. The Centre for Health Equity hosts a World Health Organisation or WHO Collaborating Centre in Women’s Health and has done since 1993. The Collaborating Centre in Women’s Health is one of the oldest collaborating centres in the region, in Asia and the Pacific, and it has a focus on providing support to WHO on the work that they do around women’s health. Collaborating centres are entities that provide technical assistance to WHO, that undertakes specific pieces of work for WHO, but they’re unfunded. All the collaborating centres around the world, of which there are very many – hundreds – do that because they think it’s important to support this international body that has a focus on health. It might be doing specific pieces of research, it might be reviewing the literature and the evidence around a health issue, sometimes it can be around developing training or resources that build the skills of health workers in the region to respond to women’s health issues. The work that we’ve done with the Collaborating Centre has been quite varied over the years, at periods it’s had a focus on mental health, women’s mental health. Currently we’re largely focusing on strengthening health workers ability to deal with violence against women. A lot of women will present to community health centres, aid posts, district hospitals, in low and middle income countries because of the injuries they have received because of violence, and there’s a real opportunity there for health workers to provide support and refer them to different services and yet health workers rarely have the skills to do that and are often quite lost when it comes to supporting women who are experiencing violence, so part of our work is sort of strengthening what WHO are doing in this area. We’ve also provided advice and done reviews of the evidence around disability and the sexual and reproductive health of women with a disability and this information is now being used by, say, the Government of The Philippines in the work that they’re doing and being supported by WHO.

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