Digital Health Week – a global week of action to advocate for digital health and its critical role in providing health for all by 2030 – will take place from 29 November until 03 December 2021.
Digital Health Week is an opportunity for diverse stakeholders – like professional bodies, the private sector, civil society, academia, governments and multilateral institutions – to advocate for digital transformation in healthcare in their contexts in a concerted week of action.
Organisations from around the world will come together at national and regional levels to host collaborative meetings and events to build consensus, discuss challenges and opportunities, and develop collaborative solutions to move the needle on the adoption of digital health technologies by governments at scale.
Digital Health Week is an annual moment open to everyone to make their own! Anyone involved in digital health can participate in the Week by organising events that promote the role of digital technologies and data in achieving health for all, with an underlying focus on equity, human rights and person-centredness.
Transform Health is coordinating the launch of the first Digital Health Week at a global scale – focusing on how digital technology and the use of data can help governments, in collaboration with professional bodies, the private sector, civil society, community groups and others, achieve universal healthcare by 2030. It is designed to be an annual event that will give stakeholders the opportunity to move the needle for digital health in a concerted global effort every year.
Transform Health is a global coalition of organisations and individuals committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the expanded use of digital technologies and data. Digital Health Week is structured to be a multi-owned campaign, in which partners of Transform Health and beyond can take ownership of the campaign and promote digital health in locally relevant contexts.
Why do we need Digital Health Week?
Digital health has been here for nearly two decades. Yet, digital technologies have been regarded as “futuristic” approaches to healthcare that cannot aid development to achieving health for all. It is important to remember that digital health is not the future – digital health is now, and it can hugely accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC)!
“We at PMNCH are committed to advocating for the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents. Digital Health Week is a global opportunity for diverse stakeholders to champion the role of digital technologies and data in making health accessible for all. We look forward to engaging in it #ForEveryWomanChildAdolescent!”
– Helga Fogstad, Executive Director, PMNCH
Despite the availability of the technology, and proven strategies for effective scaling of such technologies, digital health is still being applied in a siloed, patchwork approach that has prevented sustainable and scalable models of digital health from being applied holistically by government health ministries. Further, the lack of digital access and literacy, opaque health data rights, and the absence of equity in health care and global health justice impede progress to universal health coverage using digital technologies.
The tech exists. The case for digital health is clear. What’s missing? Political will.
The digital transformation of health requires a sustained conversation between diverse groups of stakeholders in order to ensure that the movement is enshrined in principles of equity, justice and human rights.
Digital Health Week is an opportunity to hear the multitudes of narratives around digital health and collaborate with each other to ensure a truly inclusive path forward. It allows us to come together as a community at the regional and national levels to collectively influence political decision-making and amplify the political will necessary for the digital transformation of health.
“In our work in improving HIV rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya, it is no longer possible to ignore the potential that digital health holds in improving health coverage and services. I look forward to Digital Health Week to get involved in the national conversation on digital health transformation in Kenya and find collaborators to advance this mission together.”
– Allen Maleche, Executive Director, KELIN Kenya
What will happen during Digital Health Week?
- Over 150 organisations from across 20 countries will be involved in hosting or participating in events, meetings, social media campaigns and the like – bringing together different stakeholders like government ministries, private sector companies, academia, civil society, youth bodies and professional bodies.
- Over 5 million people will be engaged through events, communications and advocacy with information, resources and key messages about digital health and Universal Health Coverage.
- Organisations will announce public commitments that pledge financial, technical or knowledge resources to advance the cause of the digital transformation of health.
What’s coming next?
Digital Health Week (DHW) launches during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that takes place from September 14-30, 2021.
At the UNGA launch, the DHW website will be unveiled, which will feature a public sign-up mechanism in which organisations can submit:
- Commitments (technical, financial, programmatic, advocacy etc.) to enable the digital transformation of health in their contexts.
- Events (roundtables, webinars, trainings, social media campaigns, publication launches etc.) they are hosting during Digital Health Week
A vetted list of public commitments and events will soon be displayed on the official DHW website, enabling allied organisations to participate in one anothers’ events, or find new avenues for collaboration in their region or country.
The website will feature the DHW Toolkit, which houses resources, social media material and fact sheets to enable organisations to conduct digital health advocacy in their contexts.
Want to get involved?
Participating in Digital Health Week is an opportunity to have your organisation’s advocacy, launches and events made visible in this global moment alongside hundreds of allied organisations.