Global Digital Health Initiative 2030
to Oct 16

Global Digital Health Initiative 2030

The year 2018 marks a turning point in the advent of global digital health. In April 2018, the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) was launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.1

Designed as a bridge between the health and technology sectors, the CWCDH is a response to the increasing use of mobile, wireless, and digital technologies for health purposes over the last decade, also referred to as digital health, most notably in low and middle income countries. Digital health opens new channels for transforming the delivery of care and addressing

economic, social and geographic inaccessibility. The next step is ensuring global cooperation and collaboration for the sustainability of innovations, their feasibility, scale-up and inclusivity. In May 2018, the much anticipated WHA Resolution on"Digital Health" was adopted by the 193 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the 71st Word Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. The Resolution affirms the digital opportunity to strengthen Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the use of digital technologies, including to improve access to, and monitoring, sharing and use of, quality data, direct citizen, health worker and government engagement, and to build capacity for rapid response to disease incidents and public health emergencies, leveraging the potential of digital information and communication technology (ICT) to enable multidirectional communications, feedback loops and data-driven “adaptive management”. The Resolution also empowers the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to develop a comprehensive "Global Strategy on Digital Health" in consultation with member states as well as non-state partners. The strategy would identify best practice and priority areas on digital health that would be beneficial to address, including, but not limited to, gaps in research, evidence-based standards, support and scale-up, financing and business models, content, evaluation, cost-effectiveness and sustainability, data security, ethical and legal issues, re-use and adaptation of existing digital health and other relevant tools. In June 2018, the Resolution was matched by the release of the first version of the

ongoing "WHO Guidelines on Digital Health Interventions for Health Systems Strengthening".2&3

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CHOGM 2018 - CMA-CWCDH Side Event
9:00 AM09:00

CHOGM 2018 - CMA-CWCDH Side Event

Royal Overseas League, London, UK

Message from H.E. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director General, The World Health Organization

“Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you so much for the invitation to speak to you today and I’m really sorry I can’t be with you in person. As you know, Universal Health Coverage is WHO’s top priority. Our aim is a world in which all people receive the high-quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration which highlighted the vital importance of primary healthcare. Primary care remains the foundation of Universal Health Coverage. But today we have an extra tool that we did not have 40 years

ago, digital technology. Mobile technologies and telemedicine can make a huge difference in helping to reach people in the remotest villages with medical services. Digital technologies can also be used to detect and respond rapidly to outbreaks and other health emergencies, to train health workers, and to improve health data. More than 120 countries including many Commonwealth states have now developed digital health strategies. A key challenge is to make sure that new technologies are made to work for the poorest and the most vulnerable not just the rich. In that regard, I welcome the establishment of the

Commonwealth Center for Digital Health with its focus on fostering innovative technologies for health that are appropriate for low income countries. Thank you for your commitment. WHO stands ready to work with you to harness the power of digital technologies for a healthier, safer and fairer world. I thank you.”

Message from H.E. The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC Secretary General, The Commonwealth of Nations

"Digital health systems are an increasingly important component in the delivery of health services and care. A range of Commonwealth contributions is enabling our member countries to adopt such solutions. These facilitate more equitable access for all communities in accordance with the values and principles of our Commonwealth Charter. The Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) has the potential to make new opportunities and tools available to health professionals in our member countries. Initiatives such as this exemplify the Commonwealth spirit of innovation which we encourage."

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The Commonwealth Panel Discussion
3:00 PM15:00

The Commonwealth Panel Discussion

Leading global health policy experts met at the Commonwealth Secretariat on Tuesday 2 February to discuss challenges facing global health security – including the spread of infectious diseases and pressures on services – and the policy responses needed to provide solutions.

The panel discussion, which took place on the same day the Zika virus outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern, underlined the growing sense of urgency for action to address both national and cross-board health crises.

Policy experts from global health organisations debated the priorities for global health security, universal health coverage and health system strengthening at the panel discussion on 2 February at Marlborough House in London.

“Working together, we can learn the lessons to strengthen health systems for health protection and leverage the resources from across the Commonwealth at this time of global health challenges existing side by side with financial constraints faced by so many of our member countries,” said Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj, who chaired the discussion.

Participating panellists included Dr Ruediger Krech, a senior official at the World Health Organisation, Elaine Chatigny, representing the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Denis Gilhooly of the United Nations Digital He@lth Initiative and 2030 Innovation Task Force.

Dr Krech opened the panel discussion by emphasising the need for capacity building in health security. “In two-thirds of member states, we see that core capacities of international health regulations are not yet met,” he said.

Fellow panellist Elaine Chatigny shared examples of health policy initiatives Canada has undertaken. “We developed a global health security public health network, which contributes to the World Health Organisation in terms of early warning and monitoring. We have also heavily invested in bio-security and bio-safety,” she said.

UN representative Mr. Gilhooly said mobile telephony and ICT can speed up initial detection and emergency response times while aiding containment. The Right Honourable Professor the Lord Kakkar PC, Professor of Surgery at the University College London and Chair of the Health Hub board, concluded the deliberations by arguing for stronger health systems with universal coverage to enhance individual, country and global security. Of particular importance, he felt, was the role of the newly launched Commonwealth Health Hub in scaling up capacity and sharing ground-breaking technology.

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