In the Memorandum of Understanding on Health Technology Cooperation issued in Beijing in 1978, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of China and the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to create a series of WHO Collaborating Centres (WHOCC). The Institute of Parasitic Diseases at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (the predecessor of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases [NIPD] at China CDC) was officially designated as a “WHO Collaborating Centre for Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Filariasis” in 1980 based in Shanghai (1). Since then, the WHOCC for Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Filariasis has played an important role in promoting the development of medical science in China.
From 1980 to 2015, the WHOCC for Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Filariasis has conducted fruitful cooperative activities facilitating the building of a first-rate organization for research and control of malaria, schistosomiasis, and filariasis (2). It has hosted international conferences and training courses, introduced advanced technologies, and validated tools for control approaches. New diagnostics, drugs, and vaccine candidates have been developed and evaluated, which has effectively promoted the control of parasitic diseases in China. Briefings and disease-specific reports have been produced to guide the process of controlling and eliminating the three diseases within its sphere of responsibility. To achieve this, the WHOCC for Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Filariasis established and coordinated international networks and projects, such as the development of strategies for schistosomiasis elimination and liver fluke control. It has also provided leadership for a Southeast Asian multi-country network called the Regional Network on Asian Schistosomiasis and Other Helminthic Zoonoses (RNAS+) (3).
In line with the development of China’s economy and social development, the NIPD has taken on a supporting role for the Belt and Road Initiative as it extends into the field of global health. To reflect these wider responsibilities, the WHOCC for Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Filariasis was re-designated as the “WHO Collaborating Centre for Tropical Diseases” in May 2015. The aim of this article is to review its achievements since 1980, to summarize the role played by the centre during its development, and to outline its role in global health governance.