Data are the basis for all sound public health actions and the benefits of data-sharing are widely recognized, including scientific and public health benefits. Whenever possible, WHO wishes to promote the sharing of health data, including but not restricted to surveillance and epidemiological data. The purpose of the policy is to clarify current policy and practice on use and sharing of data collected in Member States by WHO. This page summarizes the principles and requirements of the policy. The full text of the policy can be accessed here.
The policy applies to the use and sharing of data collected by WHO in, and/or provided to WHO by, Member States (see Annex), outside the context of public health emergencies. The policy allows, but places no obligation on, WHO or Member States to collect, anonymize, analyse or share other health data than those already being collected, anonymized, analysed and shared.
In addition, any platforms established to share data should have an explicit ethical framework governing data collection and use.
The policy was introduced on 1 January 2018 and will be monitored and evaluated over a 12-month transition period (at least one data collection cycle for technical programmes in WHO). Subsequent modifications may be made taking into account the views of technical departments at WHO (compiling and analysing data), Member States (providing data) or third parties (receiving data). The policy will not be applied retrospectively to data already provided by Member States to WHO, and/or which have already been shared by WHO with third parties.
(1) WHO’s existing position is that:
(i) all clinical trials are to be prospectively registered in a clinical trial registry meeting international standards http://www.who.int/ictrp; and
(ii) at a minimum, a summary of results from the clinical trial are to be made publicly available within 12 months of study completion http://www.who.int/ictrp/results/reporting/en
Terms and conditions
of use for WHO data compilations, aggregations, evaluations and analyses
Text for inclusion in data collection forms
in all data collection tools (paper-based, electronic or other) used by WHO to collect data from Member States
Frequently asked questions
WHO policy on the use and sharing of data collected in Member States outside the context of public health emergencies
Policy on use and sharing of data collected
in Member States by the WHO outside the context of public health emergencies
Policy statement on data sharing
by WHO in the context of public health emergencies
WHO data sharing policy implementation suggestions
Strengthening the policy implementation – October 2020
WHO Mandates and data governance authorities
Building the foundations of sustainable data governance
Best practices for the World Health Organization