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Research collaboration will benefit patients’ own management of non-communicable disease in resource-constrained countries.

World leading self care programme receives who status

In health, self-care refers to the activities that individuals, families and communities undertake to enhance health and prevent disease. With an ageing population, and a need to treat people in the community, self-care will be an increasingly important component of global health care."

- Dr Alison Ward, co-director WHO Collaborating Centre for Self-Care

The University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has been designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in recognition of its international reputation in patient self-monitoring and self-management of non-communicable disease (NCD).

The research, training and education undertaken in collaboration with the WHO aims to embed primary care practice to support NCD patient self-care in low and middle income countries.

Over the next four years, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Self-Care will coordinate a network of research centres to promote implementation research, assist the development of guidelines on self-care in NCDs and contribute to the development of a global status report of NCDs.

The collaborating centre is being led jointly by Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, and Dr Alison Ward, Director of Postgraduate Studies.

The designation follows an existing programme of NCD activities delivered alongside the WHO. These include contributing to the NCD global action plan and chairing WHO NCD guidelines on self-care, cardiovascular disease, and mammography screening. In addition the department hosted a WHO workshop on health systems research for international delegates who are implementing the WHO Package of Essential NCD interventions for primary care.

Professor Richard Hobbs, Head of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said:

“Applying primary care research and teaching for better patient care is at the heart of the work we do. For example, our activities across Africa demonstrate the value of targeting research and education in areas where access to healthcare is limited. Working closely with the WHO allows us to further leverage our self-care programme for an even greater global impact.”

Dr Alison Ward, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Self-Care said:

“In health, self-care refers to the activities that individuals, families and communities undertake to enhance health and prevent disease.

With an ageing population, and a need to treat people in the community, self-care will be an increasingly important component of global health care.”

Professor Carl Heneghan, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Self-Care said:

“Respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60% of global morbidity and mortality. The cross-disciplinary activities of our department, bringing epidemiology and research together, put us at the forefront of international efforts to help others prevent, identify and treat these diseases.

“Our work with the WHO enables us to target our efforts across those low and middle-income countries where long-term infrastructure is needed most to enable better prevention and treatment.”

Dr Shanthi Mendis, Senior Adviser, Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva said:

“Implementation research should be an integral component of all non-communicable disease prevention and control programs including those focusing on primary health care.

“The University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has been designated as a WHO collaborating centre to strengthen capacity for research for addressing noncommunicable diseases through a primary health care approach particularly in resource-constrained settings.”

WHO Collaborating Centre in Self-Care terms of reference:

  • Under WHOs coordination set up a network of research centres in Low and Middle Income Countries to promote implementation research, guided by the WHOs prioritized NCD research agenda recommendations. 
  • Assist WHO in the development and update of guidelines for self-care in NCDs.  
  • To contribute to the work related to the development of the second Global Status Report of NCDs as requested by WHO.