Press release: Global health advocates call on the World Health Organization to explicitly champion the goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information

3 July, 2024

Reliable healthcare information saves lives

More than 20,000 people die every day due to poor quality health care (Kruk et al 2018). Failure to access and apply reliable healthcare information is a major contributing factor – at all stages of care from the home through the health system.

Healthcare Information For All (HIFA) is a global community of practice administered by the Global Healthcare Information Network (GHI-Net), a UK-based NGO that campaigns for universal access to reliable healthcare information, working in official relations with WHO since 2022. 

A global consultation for WHO

In late 2023 HIFA conducted a global consultation for WHO to assess stakeholder perspectives on universal access to reliable healthcare information and how to accelerate progress. 2410 individuals from 135 countries participated, representing all six stakeholder groups in the global evidence ecosystem (generating, publishing, synthesising, packaging, finding, and applying evidence).

Respondents overwhelmingly called for WHO to explicitly champion the goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information, and for WHO and HIFA to convene stakeholders to develop a global strategy to accelerate progress. Universal access to reliable healthcare information is already implicit in the WHO Constitution but in practice there is a lack of political and financial commitment and current efforts are fragmented.

Respondents also strongly endorsed all seven priority actions proposed by the World Medical Association Policy Statement on Healthcare Information For All (originally drafted by HIFA and the British Medical Association).

See the key findings at a glance with this infographic.

Join HIFA to discuss the findings and next steps. An online event is planned for September or October. 

Towards universal access to reliable healthcare information

“Too many people are dying and suffering needlessly due to a failure to access and apply reliable healthcare information,” said Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator and co-director of GHI-Net. “This report emphasises the need for a coherent global strategy and WHO is uniquely positioned to take the lead. HIFA stands ready to support WHO in solidarity with more than 400 HIFA supporting organisations that have already endorsed the goal of universal access. Together we can build a world where every person and every health worker will have access to the information they need to protect their own health and the health of others, and will be protected from misinformation.”

Here is an infographic summary of the report: 


Lead funders: 

Thanks also to Instituto Antonio Vidal, ecancer, International League of Dermatological Societies, International Primary Care Respiratory Group, Enablement, CABI, and HIFA members (personal contributions). Total budget £12k ($15k).

Technical partners:

Thanks also to The BMJThe Lancet, and the World Medical Association for complimentary publicity. 

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