India hosts global intergovernmental meeting on digital health

New Delhi, 25 February 2019: A global intergovernmental meeting on digital health was hosted today by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Government of India, in collaboration with World Health Organization and the Global Digital Health Partnership.

Ministers and government officials from over 35 countries attended the event to discuss the impact of digital technologies on health systems and health services delivery.

“Our vision is to create an integrated digital health platform and have longitudinal electronic health record for 1.3 billion people of India,” said Jagat Prakash Nadda, Minister of Health, India.

“Ayushman Bharat is primarily dependent on maximising the use of digital tools for effective implementation and monitoring,” added the Health Minister, referring to the National Health Insurance scheme popularly known as Modicare at tertiary levels. Modicare is the biggest government sponsored healthcare scheme in the world, covering 500 million people with an insurance coverage of ₹500,000 per year per family.

India also plans to have 150,000 Health & Wellness Centres at the primary and sub centre level which provide not only curative services but also preventive and promotive services to citizens at the cutting-edge level. “Through robust digital interventions, we have ensured a continuum of care across primary, secondary and tertiary facilities gets delivered,” said the Health Minister.

The two-day event (25-26 February 2019) discusses the implication of digital health interventions to health services accessibility, quality and affordability and explores ways of leveraging digital health technologies to strengthen the healthcare delivery systems globally.

India took the world stage at the Seventy-First World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland by successfully introducing and unanimous adoption of Resolution on Digital Health. This resolution highlighted global attention to the potential, challenges and opportunities of Digital Health interventions and the need for closer collaboration on the issue globally for countries achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goal targets as well WHO's implementation of Thirteenth General Programme of Work.

“Technology has been the single greatest accelerator in advancing human health,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, underscoring that safe and secure digital technologies could improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of health services.

“Achieving universal health coverage as our Region has sought to do since 2014, is dependent on taking full advantage of the opportunities eHealth holds. Member States in this Region are now implementing their own digital health strategies and plans, designed to improve patient care and to improve health service management,” she added, representing the WHO Director General, Dr Tedros.

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Media contact:

Ramesha Saligrama Krishnamurthy
Senior Adviser, Information, Evidence and Research
World Health Organisation
Phone: +41 22 791 1405/ +41798262472
Email: krishnamurthyr@who.int