WHO adopts resolution on digital health initiated by India

ThinkstockPhotos-477454975-TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE

Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda on has said the resolution on digital health brought out by India was adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“I am happy to share that the landmark resolution on #DigitalHealth – initiated by India – was unanimously adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva. India received widespread praise for its leadership on this forward looking agenda,” Nadda said in a tweet.

The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.

In his address at the Assembly, Nadda said, “Digital health technology has a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. This is a resolution which should be owned by all of us so as to pave the path for a forward looking global health agenda.”

The resolution paves the path for WHO to establish a global strategy on digital health identifying priority areas including where WHO should focus its efforts and engages member states to optimise their health systems in sync with the global digital health agenda.

Introducing the resolution on digital health at the assembly on behalf of India and 20 co-sponsors, Joint Secretary (International Health) Lav Agarwal last week said, “Digital health is important in the context of countries achieving health-related SDG targets as well WHO’s implementation of 13th General Program of Work. Digital health agenda is multi-sectoral and cross cutting in nature. This resolution is about digitally empowering member states, WHO, health providers and above all the patients. We all need to embark on a journey from a Digital Health Resolution towards a Digital Health Movement.”

The resolution is the first step towards mainstreaming digital interventions in health including Big Data and its analytics, use of deep machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging disciplines like genomics.

Nadda had also indicated that India was planning to host a Global Digital Health Summit in near future with the support of WHO and hoped it would contribute to WHO’s efforts to come up with a comprehensive global health strategy on digital health.

In February, at the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit at Canberra in Australia, Nadda had said India is committed to reforms in health services delivery using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and it will take advantage of the Digital India programme.

Nadda had stressed on the importance of building digital health ecosystem partnerships with private healthcare providers, academia, health IT practitioners, industry, patient groups and regulatory bodies. He had also said India was planning to create an integrated digital health platform and enable creation of electronic health records for the 1.3 billion people of India.