THE World Health Organisation (WHO) and the G20 announced the initiation of the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) at the Health Minister’s Meeting of the G20 Summit hosted by India in August this year.
The novel GIDH initiative, will function as a WHO-managed network and platform dedicated to facilitating the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025. WHO, serving as the Secretariat for the strategy implementation, aims to converge global standards, best practices, and resources to expedite the transformation of digital health systems.
For healthier future
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, expressed gratitude to the G20 countries and the India G20 presidency for acknowledging WHO’s unique role and strengths in this domain. He emphasised the need for continued support and collaboration to achieve collective goals, stating, “WHO is committed to working with countries to strengthen their capacities and to improve access to quality-assured digital solutions for a healthier, safer, fairer future.”
The establishment of the Global Initiative on Digital Health stands as one of the key achievements of India’s G20 presidency. Since the inception of the first WHO resolution on ehealth in 2005, which paved the way for the WHO Global Strategy on Digital Health, over 120 WHO member states have formulated national digital health policies or strategies.
However, the experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic underscored the need for support to transition from product-focused and pilot digital health initiatives to establishing comprehensive national digital health infrastructure.
The GIDH initiative seeks to foster collaboration among countries and partners to achieve tangible outcomes. The key objectives include developing priority-driven investment plans for digital health transformation, enhancing reporting and transparency of digital health resources, facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration across regions, supporting whole-ofgovernment approaches for digital health governance, and bolstering technical and financial support for the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025 and its subsequent phases.
Digital health plays a pivotal role in advancing health outcomes, steering towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and the healthrelated Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Digital health interventions contribute to improving healthcare in various aspects, from empowering individuals in managing their health to aiding care providers in adhering to guidelines and delivering high-quality care, and ultimately fortifying health systems through enhanced supply chains and workforce management.