Poorvaprabha Patil represents HIFA at the World Health Assembly, 21-30 May 2023 (8) Thanks to Poorva and next steps

5 June, 2023

Dear Poorva and all,

On behalf of HIFA, I would like to sincerely thank my co-moderator Poorvaprabha Patil for representing us so effectively at this year's World Health Assembly. Thank you also for your latest update and reflections:


It is encouraging to hear that 'access to healthcare information has gained importance especially after the pandemic and was referred to as an important issue in several statements by member states as well as in discussions happening on the sidelines of the WHA'. At the same time, we learned that this attention is still fragmented and 'there is a lot to be done to bring attention to universal access to healthcare information as an important cross-cutting thematic in such high-level decision-making spaces'.

It was also great that Poorva was able to meet several WHO staff with whom we work, as well as other HIFA members at the event.

Poorva concludes "it’s time to reflect on how we could leverage the momentum and advocacy". I invite reflection from all HIFA members.

We need to take our advocacy to the next level to secure the high-level political and financial commitment needed to achieve universal access to reliable, relevant healthcare information. We already have the official backing of the world's doctors through the World Medical Association Statement on Healthcare Information For All, and we are steadily working towards similar backing from other stakeholder groups.

We are in a stronger position than ever now that Global Healthcare Information Network (the NGO that administers HIFA) is recognised as an NGO in Official Relations with WHO. And we have a 10-step collaboration plan agreed by HIFA and WHO. The first step in this plan is a global survey on universal access, already tested by HIFA volunteers and to be launched in July. Our thanks to the many HIFA volunteers who have helped plan and develop the survey, and to the new HIFA marketing team (meeting tomorrow) who will help ensure that it is seen and completed by (at least) thousands of people. We need to demonstrate massive, broad support if we are to secure the high-level commitment needed to achieve the goal of universal access.

Thank you Poorva for leading the way.

Best wishes, Neil

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: neil@hifa.org