New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday said that India aims to launch a global initiative on digital health as an institutional framework to converge the global efforts for digital health and scale up digital solutions with use of cutting-edge technologies.
He was virtually addressing ‘Global Conference on Digital Health – Taking Universal Health Coverage to the Last Citizen’ a co-branded event under India’s G20 Presidency organised by WHO – South-East Asia Region in collaboration with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
“Digital solutions hold the capacity to revolutionise the healthcare delivery systems. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister, India aims to launch a global initiative on digital health as an institutional framework. This framework aims to converge the global efforts for digital health and scale up digital solutions with use of cutting-edge technologies. It is time to move from ‘Silos to Systems’ with collaboration of all countries for enhanced coverage and quality of healthcare services,” said Mandaviya addressing the conference.
Addressing the challenges in universalisation of digital health and enabling of equitable access to healthcare services across the world, particularly for low-and middle-income countries, the Health Minister added, “Aligned with the ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, India provided Co-Win, E-sanjeevani and Aarogya Setu applications as digital public goods exemplifying our commitment to global health and our role in driving equitable access to critical health solutions.”
Reiterating India’s commitment towards Universal Health Coverage, Mandaviya cited digital interventions have become the foundations of many crucial health programmes such as reproductive child healthcare, Ni-kshay, TB control programme, integrated disease surveillance system, hospital information system among many others.
Citing the examples of e-Sanjeevni, a tele-consultation platform which has crossed 100 million teleconsultations, the vaccine management drive achieving administration of more than 2.2 billion doses, and of Prime Minister Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) that provides health insurance to 500 million citizens free of cost in a cashless and paperless manner, he added that India’s adoption of digital health as a critical intervention from the onset of the pandemic became a defining juncture as it enabled healthcare services to a wide range of services with ease, reaching the innermost regions of the nation.
“While Governments around the world are already making significant investments to leverage technology to improve health outcomes, there is still a long way to go in order to achieve sustainable and scalable outcomes. India accordingly under its G20 Presidency has prioritised Digital Health as a specific priority in its Health Working Group namely- ‘Digital Health Innovation and Solutions to aid UHC and improve Healthcare Service Delivery’ that aims to align, support, and converge efforts, investments and promotes the concept of digital public health goods to aid Universal Health Coverage,” he further added.
The global leaders and health development partners, health policy makers, digital health innovators and influencers, academia and other stakeholders from around the world were also present at the conference.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO-SEARO said that digital health solutions ensure democratisation of health services & innovations with specific focus on low and low-middle income countries (LMICs). She also suggested to establish digital health infrastructure, build on institutional platform and citizen-driven digital health ecosystem.
Professor Alain Labrique, Director, Digital Health and Innovation, WHO focused on the need of people-centred digital solution taking care of equity and inclusion for marginalised community and digital divide.