Global, 19 August 2023 (TDI): The World Health Organization (WHO) and the G20 India presidency have jointly launched a new Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) during the Health Minister’s Meeting of the G20 Summit hosted by the Government of India.

GIDH, managed by WHO, will function as a network and platform supporting the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025’s implementation.

WHO is the Secretariat for this initiative, working to harmonize global standards, best practices, and resources to expedite the transformation of digital health systems.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, expressed appreciation to the G20 countries and the India G20 Presidency for their support in creating the GIDH network.

He emphasized the ongoing need for collaboration to strengthen digital health capacities worldwide and enhance access to quality-assured digital solutions for improved health outcomes.

India’s Union Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, highlighted the significance of the launch, stating that it is one of the key deliverables of India’s G20 Presidency.

Since the WHO’s first resolution on e-health in 2005, which paved the way for the Global Strategy on Digital Health, over 120 WHO Member States have developed their national digital health policies or strategies.

However, there is still a need for support in transitioning from product-focused and pilot digital health initiatives to establishing a comprehensive national digital health infrastructure with proper governance, policies, and a skilled health workforce.

The GIDH initiative seeks to attain tangible results through several key objectives, including the formulation of explicit investment strategies for the transformation of digital health, and improving the disclosure and openness of digital health assets.

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It also aims at promoting the sharing of knowledge and cooperation among various regions and nations, backing comprehensive government-based strategies for digital health governance, and bolstering technical and financial backing for the execution of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025 and its subsequent phase.

The GIDH is a network under the management of the World Health Organization (WHO) with the primary goal of facilitating the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025 and other WHO norms and standards for Digital Health System Transformation.

Serving as a global platform, GIDH brings together various stakeholders to collectively work towards enhancing country capacity and strengthening international cooperation in the realm of digital health.

GIDH has identified several core areas of focus. These include assessing and prioritizing the digital health needs of Member States, and evaluating the availability and reporting of digital health resources at the country level.

Supporting the accelerated achievement of the strategic objectives outlined in the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025, and fostering capacity-building efforts.

Additionally, GIDH aims to address challenges related to the quality of digital solutions and emerging technologies, such as standards, data privacy, security, and interoperability, by promoting best practices and quality-assured building blocks.

Digital health has demonstrated its potential to accelerate health outcomes and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)

Over the past two decades, WHO Member States have collaborated with WHO to harness digital technologies for advancing health targets.

However, issues such as fragmented resource allocation, alignment of solutions with Member States’ needs, and variations in the quality of digital solutions have hindered the progress of national digital health transformations.

Member States seek support in transitioning from product-focused initiatives to comprehensive digital health systems, emphasizing the importance of trusted and quality-assured technical support.

GIDH strives to assist Member States in advancing their national digital health transformations by promoting collaboration among partners and existing networks while amplifying ongoing multinational and regional activities.

The Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)

The key components of GIDH are developed through a transparent and inclusive co-creation process, leveraging existing evidence, tools, and knowledge.

Ultimately, GIDH aims to strengthen collaboration, promote evidence-based approaches, and facilitate the advancement of national digital health transformation in alignment with global health goals.