Use of Technology & Digital Health Tools are an Enabler & Equalizer
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, recently addressed the G7 Ministerial meeting on Health Innovation in Nagasaki, Japan. The meeting focused on the implementation and utilization of health innovation, including digital health, towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. Health Ministers from the G7 countries and invited “Outreach 4” countries, including India, participated in the meeting.
In his speech, Dr Mandaviya emphasized the potential of technology and digital health tools to facilitate strengthened health service delivery and aid in achieving Universal Health Coverage. He highlighted the role of digital health tools as an equalizer that can bridge the digital divide across countries, particularly among low- and middle-income countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed the use of technology in health service delivery, but there is a need for an enabling framework to ensure that everyone benefits from these innovations.
India’s Achievements in Digital Health
Dr Mandaviya highlighted India’s achievements in digital health, including the Co-WIN platform, which has monitored the administration of over 2.2 billion vaccine doses and facilitated the administration of vaccines across the country. He also mentioned the eSanjeevani national telemedicine platform, which has coordinated over 115 million consultations, making it the world’s biggest telemedicine platform. These achievements demonstrate India’s commitment to leveraging technology to improve healthcare delivery.
Dr Mandaviya also emphasized the importance of embracing new and evolving tools like artificial intelligence, smart wearables, and big data analytics. He highlighted their potential to aid precision medicine, personalized healthcare, genomics, and clinical decision support systems. He stressed the importance of ensuring the availability of these tools to all, stating that India has taken a policy decision to provide them as digital public goods free of cost to the world.
Global Initiative on Digital Health
Dr Mandaviya proposed the formation of a Global Initiative on Digital Health, housed at the World Health Organization HQ, to bridge the global digital divide. This initiative, with a network-of-network approach, will be crucial in ensuring that everyone has access to the benefits of digital health tools. He urged the support of G7 countries for this initiative and emphasized that India’s G20 Presidency has brought digital health as a specific priority.
In conclusion, Dr Mandaviya’s speech at the G7 Ministerial meeting on Health Innovation highlights the potential of digital health tools and technology to improve healthcare delivery and achieve Universal Health Coverage. His proposals for an enabling framework and a Global Initiative on Digital Health demonstrate India’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to the benefits of these innovations.