National Centre for Global Health

Acting Director: Dr. Maurizio Federico
phone: (+39) 06 4990 6016



It carries out research activities, both in economically developed and less economically developed countries, addressing the "how to apply" the knowledge of modern medicine and biology to the health of all people living on the national territory and in the world, with a general philosophy based on the fight against health inequalities, on the fight against gender discrimination, and particular attention to the most fragile and marginalized populations. The Centre works to contribute, together with other national and international actors, to combat inequalities in access to health, in Italy and in the world, through:

  • fundamental, clinical and operational research on the therapy and prevention of major global diseases
  • research on health systems
  • international cooperation projects
  • collaboration with international health organisations
  • training, advocacy and networking activities


Context and principles of the center

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Italian Constitution indicate health as a fundamental right, a guarantee for the community, and a necessary instrument of coexistence and civilization. Despite this convergence, intolerable inequalities remain around the world in terms of access to health and health services, life expectancy, and mortality from both communicable and non-communicable diseases, many of which are preventable and treatable. This phenomenon is not limited to countries with limited resources, but also includes richer countries, especially in this particular historical moment, characterized by a difficult economic-financial context, complex geopolitical issues, and migration processes of enormous magnitude. There is a need to work on appropriateness and on new evidence-based models of care and intervention, which aim at innovation and distributive equality, able to provide adequate care and assist disabilities, and protect the psychophysical well-being of the entire population, even in complex and difficult social and environmental contexts. The principles that guide the activities of the Centre start from the concept that in a globalized world, the right to health and universal access to care must represent a priority of intervention, from which our country and our Institute cannot escape.

Even the health systems of the most economically developed countries are going through a major crisis of financial sustainability. The causes are different and include: demographic change with the positive increase in life expectancy, however connected with an exponential increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases and polymorbidity; the scientific progress of biomedicine and technological development, which is bringing benefits unthinkable until some time ago, but also to an exponential increase in costs; increasing citizens' awareness and just demands for health.

To prevent this crisis from negatively affecting the efficiency of services, and significantly affecting the most fragile part of the population, in practice the poorest and most marginalized people, the way is to work on appropriateness and on new models of care and intervention based on evidence, which aim to combine innovation and distributive equality, able to provide adequate care,  assist disabilities, and protect the psychophysical well-being of the entire population.

Through this Centre, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) proposes itself as an independent reference and third of the global health activities in Italy.

The Centre collaborates with multilateral organizations of the United Nations that deal with health - World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank (WB), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations High Commissioner UNHCR), with large national (Ministry of Health) and international institutions,  such as the Global Fund, with non-governmental organizations, with communities and patient associations, with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the structures that do research on global health at national, European and international level, and with the skills present within the Istituto Superiore di Sanità on major diseases, infectious and non-infectious, rare and neglected diseases, environmental epidemiology, food safety.