National center for global health

Responsible: Dr. Massimo Sargiacomo f.f. 
phone: (+39) 06 4990 6015 

Center activities 

The department carries out research activities, both in economically developed and in less 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 to combat health inequalities and gender discrimination, and gives particular attention to the most fragile and marginalized populations. The Center works to contribute, together with other national and international actors, to combat inequalities in access to health, in Italy and worldwide, through: 

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

Context and principles of the center 

The Universal declaration of human rights and our 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 in 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 importance. There is therefore a need to work on new evidence-based care and intervention models, which aim at innovation and distributive equality, capable of providing adequate care, assisting with disabilities, and protecting the psychophysical well-being of the whole population, even in complex and difficult social and environmental contexts. The principles that guide the Centre's activities therefore start from the concept that in a globalized world, the right to health and universal access to care must be a priority of intervention, which our country and our institute cannot escape. 

Even the health systems of the most economically developed countries are experiencing an important financial sustainability crisis. The causes are different and include: demographic change with a positive increase in life expectancy; an exponential increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases and poly morbidity; the scientific progress of biomedicine and technological development which is provide benefits that were unthinkable until recently; an exponential increase in costs; and the increase in awareness of the right to health of citizens. 

To avoid this crisis adversely affecting the efficiency of services, and significantly affecting the most fragile part of the population, the way is to work on new models of care and evidence-based intervention aimed at combining innovation and distributive equality, capable of providing adequate care, assisting disabilities, and protecting the psychophysical well-being of the whole population. 

Through this Center, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) acts as an independent and third point of reference for global health activities in our country. 

The Center collaborates with United Nations multilateral health organizations - World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank (WB), Joint United Nations Program 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 structures that carry out research on global health at national, European and international level, and with the skills present within the Higher Institutes of Health on pathologies, infectious and non-infectious, rare and neglected diseases, environmental epidemiology, and food safety.