KU collaborates with World Health Organization on global issues

KU collaborates with World Health Organization on global issues

The Life Span Institute’s Work Group for Community Health and Development has been re-designated as an of official World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Community Health and Development for another four years (2016-2020).

Vincent Francisco and Stephen Fawcett will co-direct the center that was initially designated by the WHO Director-General in 2004 to be part of an international collaborative network to carry out activities in support of WHO’s mandate for promoting health and health equity.

The KU Work Group will continue to work closely with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), one of WHO’s six regional of ces. The center expanded the evidence base for health promotion efforts and built capacity for community health and development globally using the resources of the KU Work Group’s online Community Tool Box (CTB) at ctb.ku.edu, said Francisco.

In collaboration with PAHO, the CTB was made available in Spanish at ctb.ku.edu/es to help build capacity among Spanish-speaking peoples in the Americas. Site users can access in-depth support for developing a strategic plan or evaluation and can read case examples of culturally grounded work on issues such as promoting maternal and child health, nutrition, physical activity, sanitation and water quality.

The KU center has also worked with the WHO Regional Of ce for Africa in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, for the last ve years. Beginning in 2013, their work shifted to the Ebola epidemic, said Fawcett. “In particular, they asked us to help monitor and evaluate the response to the outbreaks in Liberia.”

One of the results of this collaboration with the African Region was a toolkit aimed at helping both health and non-health professionals to better address the root causes of what makes people sick or healthy, said Fawcett. The toolkit drew on the resources of KU’s CTB that reached over 5.8 million unique users last year. The Action Toolkit for Social Determinants of Health in the African Region at sdhaction-afro.org aims to strengthen learning and problem-solving skills to address a wide range of public health concerns.

“The Toolkit is being introduced as a just-in-time resource for policy makers, NGOs, academics and communities to be able to respond to any public health issue using learning and problem-solving skills contained in the framework,” said Fawcett.