Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus(L) and Mansukh L. Mandaviya(R) / Image: X/@DrTedros
An initiative to revolutionize healthcare around the world through technological advancement was launched by the G20 Health Working Group. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, made the announcement that the launch of the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) was a top priority for the G20 countries during the G20 Health Ministers' Meeting.
With this announcement, the G20 has taken the first step toward its goal of enhancing healthcare delivery and accessibility through the use of technology.
in his keynote addressat the event, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted the importance of digital health solutions in achieving universal health coverage and streamlining healthcare services. He underscored the integrative nature of GIDH, promoting equity through the convergence of efforts and best practices.
The WHO chief Dr Tedros stressed that the incorporation of tools like artificial intelligence (AI) would be balanced by ethical considerations and proper governance, ensuring inclusivity and leaving no one behind in the pursuit of global healthcare goals. Further, he commended India’s effort, adding, “I thank India and all G20 countries for your leadership in developing the Global Initiative on Digital Health.”
Dr Mandaviya emphasized the surge in digital health solutions worldwide and the need to overcome fragmentation by integrating efforts. India, holding the G20 presidency, showcased its expertise in developing a national digital health architecture, aiming for interoperability and enhanced health system strength.
The Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH), managed by WHO, intends to amplify recent advancements and global gains in digital health systems. Addressing challenges like duplication and product-focused transformations, GIDH will be a network of networks, focusing on four foundational pillars - 'alignment with the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025', 'support for standards-based and interoperable systems', 'facilitation of quality-assured digital transformation tools' and 'mutual accountability and impact enhancement'.
The WHO director proposed four requests, saying, “First, I seek your commitment to the implementation of the Global Initiative on Digital Health. Second, I seek your commitment to inclusive and consultative dialogue with all Member States on the interim mechanism for medical countermeasures. Third, I seek your continued support for the Joint Finance-Health Task Force, to complete its work on surge financing and economic vulnerabilities to pandemics, and to continue the collaboration to address other challenges. And fourth, I seek your commitment to negotiating a comprehensive pandemic accord that encompasses all the lessons of the pandemic, so that we never repeat the same mistakes.”
The launch of the World Bank’s Flagship Report on "Digital in Health – Unlocking Value for Everyone" by Dr Mandaviya was another highlight of the session. The report provides practical guidance for digital health implementation across different countries, regardless of their digital maturity or financial constraints.
Health Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Brazil, along with India’s Union Health Secretary, also shared insights on their respective countries' efforts in leveraging digital health technologies to improve healthcare coverage and services.