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WHO adopts India-initiated resolution on digital health

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71st World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), has adopted the resolution initiated by India on digital health, said Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda on Tuesday.

“I’m happy to share that the landmark resolution on #DigitalHealth – initiated by India – was unanimously adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva. India received widespread praise for its leadership on this forward looking agenda,” Nadda said in a tweet.

The 71st World Health Assembly, attended by delegations from all WHO member states, was organised in Geneva last week.

In his address at the Assembly, Nadda said: “Digital health technology have a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. This is a resolution which should be owned by all of us so as to pave the path for a forward looking global health agenda.”

The resolution is supposed to help the WHO in setting up a global strategy on digital health to identify priority areas. WHO will focus its efforts engage member states to optimize their health systems in sync with the global digital health agenda.

Introducing the resolution on digital health at the assembly on behalf of India and 20 cosponsors, Joint Secretary (International Health) Lav Agarwal last week said: “Digital health is important in the context of countries achieving health-related SDG targets as well WHO’s implementation of 13th General Program of Work. Digital health agenda is multisectoral and cross cutting in nature. “This resolution is about digitally empowering member states, WHO, health providers and above all the patients … We all need to embark on a journey from a Digital Health Resolution towards a Digital Health Movement.”

The resolution is the first step towards mainstreaming digital interventions in health including big data and its analytics, use of deep machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things and other emerging disciplines like genomics.

Nadda also indicated about India’s plans of hosting a Global Digital Health Summit in near future with the support from the WHO and also hoped to contribute to WHO’s efforts of coming up with a comprehensive global health strategy on digital health.

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