WHO, and G20 India Presidency Unveil Global Initiative on Digital Health

WHO, and G20 India Presidency Unveil Global Initiative on Digital Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the G20 India presidency have jointly introduced the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) during the G20 Summit’s Health Minister’s Meeting, hosted by the Government of India.

Functioning as a WHO-managed network and platform, the new GIDH initiative is designed to facilitate the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025. The WHO, acting as the strategy’s Secretariat, aims to converge global standards, best practices, and resources to expedite the transformation of digital health systems.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, expressed gratitude to the G20 countries and the India G20 Presidency for their acknowledgment of WHO’s pivotal role and strengths in this domain, and their support for establishing the GIDH network. Dr. Tedros stated, “Continued support and collaboration of the G20, development partners and international organizations will be necessary to accomplish together what none of us can do alone. WHO is committed to working with countries to strengthen their capacities and to improve access to quality-assured digital solutions for a healthier, safer, fairer future.”

During the launch, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, India’s Union Health Minister, highlighted the historic significance of the day for the G20 Health Working Group. He noted that G20 countries not only recognized the importance of the initiative but also worked collectively towards its inauguration. The establishment of the Global Initiative on Digital Health stands as a prominent achievement of India’s G20 Presidency.

Since the inception of the first WHO resolution on ehealth in 2005, which paved the way for the WHO Global Strategy on Digital Health, over 120 WHO Member States have formulated national digital health policies or strategies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the potential of digital health, leading to increased adoption. However, many nations express the need for assistance in transitioning from product-centric and pilot digital health initiatives to building national digital health infrastructure, complete with effective governance, policy frameworks, and skilled healthcare workforces capable of selecting, maintaining, and adapting digital health interventions.

The GIDH initiative aims to facilitate collaboration among countries and partners to achieve measurable outcomes through:

  • Developing priority-driven investment plans for digital health transformation.
  • Enhancing transparency in reporting digital health resources.
  • Fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration across regions to expedite progress.
  • Supporting comprehensive governmental approaches to digital health governance.
  • Providing increased technical and financial backing for the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025 and its subsequent phase.

Multiple stakeholders have made significant commitments in both financial support and resources to aid in the launch of this novel Initiative.

Digital health has proven to be a catalyst in advancing health outcomes towards achieving Universal Health Coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Its interventions serve to enhance healthcare in various ways, from aiding individuals in managing their health journeys to enabling care providers to deliver high-quality care and bolstering health systems through improved supply chains and workforce management.

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