Saturday December 15, 2018

India’s Digital Health Resolution Adopted by WHO

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

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The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states.
Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda . Wikimedia Commons
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Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday 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’m 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 have 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 optimize 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 cosponsors, 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 multisectoral and cross cutting in nature.

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

“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, internet of things 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.

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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 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. (IANS)

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)