How HIFA works with WHO to improve the availability of healthcare information worldwide

WHO and HIFA work together to build a world where every person has access to the information they need to protect their own health and the health of those for whom they are responsible, and to protect people from the harms of misinformation. This work directly supports 'WHO's quintessential function to ensure access to authoritative and strategic information on matters that affect peoples' health' (WHO general programme of work, 2019–2023). Since 2022 Global Healthcare Information Network (the non-profit organisation that administers HIFA) has been working in official relations with WHO, with an agreed collaboration plan to accelerate progress towards universal access, starting in 2023 with a global consultation.

WHO has worked with HIFA since the launch of HIFA in 2006. Indeed, HIFA emerged as the main recommendation of a review commissioned by WHO and published in The Lancet in 2004: Can we achieve health information for all by 2015? 

The breadth and depth of our collaboration increases year on year, and WHO currently has three representatives on the HIFA Steering Group.


Specifically, HIFA works closely with Linguistic Collaborations at WHO Geneva through our Multilingualism project to promote:

1. communication, understanding and advocacy around the information needs of the public, health workers, researchers, representatives of civil society and policymakers in languages other than English
2. inclusive global health communication in multiple languages, including alignment (eg scope, moderation approach, branding), development and cross-fertilisation across the HIFA forums (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish…) to maximise their collective impact on global health
3. co-creation/co-development in health information sharing: integrating health information providers and users into the processes of mutual sharing, understanding and solidarity so that their unique perspectives and cooperation may ultimately support health for all.

We have formal collaborations for HIFA-French, HIFA-Portuguese, and HIFA-Spanish. HIFA provides training in moderation skills while WHO provides staff time, technical expertise and linguistic skills. 

In addition to the above collaborations, WHO funds a number of HIFA projects that help to address WHO priorities. Recent project include:

1. Empowering community health workers (2019-20)

WHO supported the HIFA project Empowering community health workers to promote global and country-level understanding, advocacy and engagement around the WHO guidance: Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context interim guidance as well as promoting cross-country sharing of experience and expertise.

2. Maintaining essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic (and beyond) (2020-21)

WHO supported HIFA to explore HIFA members' experience around the maintenance of essential health services during and after the pandemic, in a spirit of solidarity and codevelopment. More information.

3. Learning for quality health services (2021-22)

Most recently, WHO is supporting HIFA to support Learning for quality health services. The project promotes cross-country learning on how to increase quality at the national, district, and facility-level in your country, and is informed by the WHO publication Quality health services: a planning guide (2020)More information

How your organization can work with HIFA

Our work with WHO is just one example of how HIFA works with other organisations. Contact us to discuss how HIFA can help meet the objectives of your organisation!