World Health Summit 2022: Bridging the digital divide in global health: new Conceptual Framework for digital transformation of health systems

2 November, 2022

Were you at the recent World Health Summit? It would be great to hear your observations and reflections.

I was interested to read about the panel discussion organised by the Transform Health Global Coalition to launch their new Conceptual Framework ‘Closing the digital divide: More and better funding for the digital Transformation of health’.

The framework provides 'the thinking on how to guide investments and action for digital health transformation in low and middle income countries'. 'The report lays out six key recommendations for national governments, international donors, and the private sector to increase and improve investments towards building digitally-enabled health systems that improve health outcomes for all'

Recommendation 1 – More investment from domestic and international sources

Recommendation 2 – Better coordinated and aligned investments.

Recommendation 3 – A costed digital health strategy and investment road map.

Recommendation 4 – A robust regulatory framework and policy environment

Recommendation 5 – Mechanisms for meaningful multistakeholder engagement.

Recommendation 6 – Improved digital connectivity

On the subject of multistakeholder engagement: 'Civil society, including young people, women, older persons, persons with disabilities and marginalised and hard-to-reach communities, needs to be involved at all levels of planning, strategy, execution and monitoring of the transformation. Such participation needs to be supported financially to ensure that communities across all strata of society are represented and can hold decision-makers and service providers accountable.'

COMMENT (NPW): For me, 'multisectoral engagement' in terms of civil society engagement is a given. What is just as critical, and is often ignored, is multistakeholder engagement in terms of facilitating interaction 24/7/365 among multiple professional disciplines and perspectives. This could be done so much better. 3-day international conferences are not enough (and carry a high environmental cost. We should of course be using digital technology much better to improve multistakeholder communication. Currently there is almost zero investment in realising the potential of communities of practice such as HIFA. We should be investing in ways to facilitate meaningful, multilingual communication and (more challenging but doable) inclusive shared learning and problem-solving.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK based non-profit in official relations with the World Health Organization.

Twitter: @hifa_org