Saturday February 16, 2019

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

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)

Next Story

WHO Makes Progress In Controlling Ebola In Congo

In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated.

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Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders)-supported Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

Six months after the outbreak of Ebola was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, the World Health Organization is expressing cautious optimism that it is making headway in controlling the spread of the deadly virus.

Latest figures reported by the WHO show 752 cases of Ebola, including 465 deaths.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, says progress in containing the spread of the virus is due to a number of public health measures, including the training of health workers on infection prevention and control, closer engagement with communities, case investigation and contact tracing.

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Medical staff are sterilized before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, on Aug. 17, 2018, where there is one suspected case of Ebola. VOA

She says the use of a vaccine and promising new drugs have been a boon to these efforts.

“I feel optimistic,” Moeti said. “I am very clear that we need to continue this work. We need to make sure that in the places where we have made progress, we build on this progress and we do not go back. And, we are being very, very conscious of the fact that we need to invest to improve the preparedness both in the DRC areas that are highest at risk and, most importantly, in the surrounding countries that are at risk.”

Ebola, mother
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers talk to a worker at an isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 20, 2018. VOA

The risk of the virus spreading to countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan is very high because of the heavy cross-border traffic among the countries, Moeti said. However, she added, surveillance and preparedness activities have been enhanced on both sides of the border.

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She says there is extensive monitoring at border crossings and improvements have been made in screening people for the virus. In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated. Moeti said a similar vaccination campaign began two days ago in South Sudan. (VOA)