WHO-managed grid to promote equitable access to digital health

The initiative will be one of the key deliverables of India’s G-20 Presidency and amplify recent and past gains in global digital health, says Centre

Updated - August 20, 2023 02:19 am IST

Published - August 19, 2023 08:55 pm IST - GANDHINAGAR

Union Helath Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at the Joint Health-Finance Ministers’ Meeting of G20, in Gandhinagar on August 19, 2023.

Union Helath Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at the Joint Health-Finance Ministers’ Meeting of G20, in Gandhinagar on August 19, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday launched the ‘Global Initiative on Digital Health’ (GIDH), a World Health Organization-managed network, in the presence of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general, WHO.

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GIDH is one of the key deliverables of India’s G-20 Presidency. It will consolidate the evidence and “amplify recent and past gains in global digital health” while strengthening mutual accountability to enhance the impact of future investments, the Health Ministry said. 

The GIDH will be a WHO-managed network that will promote equitable access to digital health by addressing challenges such as duplication of efforts and “products-focused” digital health transformation.

GIDH will ultimately aim to align efforts to support the ‘Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025’, support quality-assured technical assistance to develop and strengthen standards-based and interoperable systems aligned to global best practices, norms, and standards, and facilitate the deliberate use of quality assured digital transformation tools that enable governments to manage their digital health transformation journey, the Ministry said.

In his keynote address on “Digital Health Innovation and Solutions to aid Universal Health Coverage and Improve Healthcare Service Delivery” at the G-20 Health Ministers’ Meeting, the Health Minister said that India’s G-20 presidency has leveraged its experience on developing a national digital health architecture through the convergence of digital health interventions aimed at strengthening health systems through interoperability by design.

Underscoring the importance of convergence-approach to integrate disparate systems under an integrated digital health ecosystem umbrella, Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant highlighted India’s effort for establishing a comprehensive digital health ecosystem through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). He stated that “with a view to avoid re-invention of wheel multiple times”, we are keen on sharing our learnings of the same with the world. This approach of sharing is linked to India’s philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (whole world is one family).

Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasised that “the GIDH is an integrative step that fosters equity in healthcare by converging efforts and best practices. It will amplify our efforts with the incorporation of tools such as AI while giving due importance to ethics, policy, and governance”.

He added that ensuring global healthcare isn’t something that we can do alone. The GIDH will ensure inclusivity, integration, and alignment of our goals by not leaving anyone behind.

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