About Us



The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, that all UN Member States have agreed to try, aim to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030. This includes financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

The WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre for the African region is hosted by the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town, South Africa. The Centre supports the development, implementation and maintenance of the WHO-FIC across the region, and through the global WHO-FIC Network.

The WHO Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) is pivotal in delivering Universal Health Coverage in the African region.


The terms of reference can be summarised as (1) supporting the development, revision, maintenance and evaluation of WHO-FIC internationally, and in Africa (WHO/AFRO); and (2) participating in joint WHO-FIC development and maintenance activities through the WHO-FIC network. In more detail the terms of reference are:

  • Assisting WHO in developing, maintaining and revising the WHO Family of International Classifications, Terminologies and Standards (WHO-FIC), in particular the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the International Classification of Health Interventions, and relevant terminological and ontological aspects.
  • Supporting global work with active participation to Committees, as for Implementation & Education, Update & Revision, Electronic Tools & Terminology, and Family Development and Reference Groups, as for Mortality, Morbidity, Functioning & Disability that assist WHO in the development, testing, implementation, use, improvement, updating and revision of members of the WHO-FIC.
  • Collaborating with local and regional users of classifications by networking and providing support, disseminating information about the WHO-FIC and other health-related classifications, regarding the availability, suitability and applicability of the classifications for different purposes, as reporting and coding, availability of tools for implementation, data analysis, and interpretation, in coordination with WHO.
  • Promoting use of the WHO-FIC, developing, formulating and sharing teaching materials, organizing and conducting local, regional and global training courses and translating international WHO-FIC materials to the relevant language for local use, in coordination with WHO.
  • Improving the level and quality of implementation of WHO classifications, supporting quality assurance procedures of the WHO-FIC regarding mechanisms, norms and standards
    of classification use, data collection, and data analysis, in coordination with WHO.

The objectives of the WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre (Africa region) are to:

  • Build an effective WHO-FIC Network in the WHO Africa region,
  • Build strong international links with other WHO-FIC Networks,
  • Provide evidence and support for the effective utilisation of WHO-FIC in the development and provision of Universal Health Coverage and Health Information Systems,
  • Keep a growing WHO-FIC Network in Sub-Saharan Africa informed about the activities and educational resources available from the Collaborating Centre and other related stakeholders,
  • Deliver educational resources for ICD, ICF, ICHI and Cause of Death Certification, and
  • Obtain funding for the WHO-FIC projects in African Region..

The WHO-FIC Network for the African Region shares the values of Equity, Excellence, Solidarity, Respect, Integrity, Ubuntu and Social responsibility.


To cooperate with the countries and other stakeholders in the WHO African Region to develop and advance WHO-FIC.

Coordinate and share experiences, knowledge, and the production of scientific evidence on WHO-FIC to contribute to Universal Health Coverage and strong health information systems in the WHO Africa region

If you are interested to join as collaborator of the Collaborating Centre, download our Strategic Plan.


Download summary of annual reports



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