Progress towards Universal Health Coverage has sped up this decade, with digital tools and technologies playing a significant role. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the possibilities of digital tools – improved surveillance and testing, large-scale sharing of public health messages and telehealth services, for instance. It also, however, displayed the ground we have yet to cover – inequities in access to digital health services, unregulated surveillance technologies and lack of health data governance are only some of the threats to equitable access to health for all on a ‘glocal’ scale.
These developments have made the work we do at Transform Health more urgent and more relevant. Our work continues with the necessary momentum to keep pace with the digital health transformation that continues to be one of the top priorities as the world emerges from the pandemic. We also look forward to taking forward the recommendations of the Governing health futures 2030: Growing up in a digital world report launched at the World Health Summit 2021, on the governance and accountability frameworks necessary for equitable digital transformation.
We are proud to share the progress that we have made towards our three strategic objectives – building political will, advocating for a health data governance framework, and enabling increased and coordinated investments towards digital transformation – in this annual report.
IN 2021, WE TOOK CONCRETE STEPS ACROSS EACH OF OUR OBJECTIVES TO ADVANCE THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF HEALTH.
A government’s political commitment, or its political will, to address an issue is manifested in the policies, regulation, legislations and funding directed to a specific sector or issue. Strong political will is reflected in a government’s determination to drive an agenda forward. To this end, in 2021, Transform Health set up two national coalitions to build that political understanding and commitment to change at national level. We also worked closely with regional networks and through global moments and events to build greater demand across different sectors, including civil society, academia, the private sector and policy-makers among others, to generate greater political understanding and support for the inclusive and equitable digital transformation of health systems in LMICs.
We embarked on the process of establishing Transform Health coalitions in priority countries. We identified six priority countries – India, Indonesia, Kenya, Senegal, Ecuador and Mexico – and started the process of recruiting national coordinating partners in Indonesia and in Kenya. In 2022 we will establish the coalition in India and in Ecuador and in 2023, in Senegal and Mexico.
In collaboration with partners in Kenya we selected the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS – KELIN to act as Transform Health’s National Coordinator. KELIN advocates for a holistic and rights-based system of service delivery in health and for the full enjoyment of the right to health by all, including the vulnerable, marginalised, and excluded populations.
In Indonesia we selected the Indonesian Public Health Association – IAKMI, a membership organisation that includes over 35,000 health workers across 34 provinces and renowned for its technical expertise.
Once selected, these national coordinators conducted a landscape analysis that focused on the broader challenges and opportunities for digital transformation and the use of data to achieve UHC. Through an iterative process, the Enabling Function supported our national partners to develop their strategies, project plans, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and budgets. Learnings from the onboarding of IAKMI and KELIN have been codified into a process and a set of templates that will be used with subsequent partners.
KELIN is excited to coordinate a coalition of like-minded organisations that is Transform Health Kenya to advocate for an enabling legal and policy environment and to hold the government accountable.For us, success is a Kenya where citizens are aware of their digital health rights; data privacy and accountability is prioritised and violations sanctioned; and a collective voice calling for a rights based approach to digital health where vulnerable communities including people living with HIV, key and affected populations see an end to discrimination and enjoy their rights to health.
Our partnership has been an important collaboration based on co-creation principles, and a learning experience that has enabled us to advocate effectively at the national and regional level in Latin America and the Caribbean to advance digital transformation of health and achieve UHC. Together we are stronger!
Transform Health recognises the critical role of technical experts across different regions. Many of these experts are voluntary members of regional networks such as Asia eHealth Informatics Network (AeHIN), Central American Health Informatics Network (RECAINSA), and Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA). As members of these networks, they support each other with knowledge and information exchanges, and share their expertise to support governments and others to implement digital health solutions that will accelerate UHC.
We have partnered with these networks and are providing support to enable them to use their technical expertise and thought leadership to influence regional and national bodies to accelerate the pace of digital transformation in health. We are also working with Speak Up Africa and the Baobab Institute to set up Transform Health West Africa, a regional hub of experts and health campaigners in West and Central Africa. In 2022 we will be collaborating far more closely with regional networks to raise the profile of digital health and to highlight digital health solutions that can be applied at scale to accelerate UHC.
To extend our influence on decision makers at the national level it is important to influence the agenda of global platforms and events where broader agendas are set by governments and others. Among these decision making fora are the World Health Assembly, the G7, the UNGA, the G20. This year we engaged in all four events. We issued a joint public statement with our private sector partner the Digitally Connected Care Coalition for the World Health Assembly, that was subsequently picked up by our regional partners RECAINSA.
We set up two working groups with coalition partners to engage in the G7 and in the G20. This ensured collective decision making on key issues, in particular the positioning that Transform Health was taking in relation to the G7 and G20. It also enabled the effective sharing of knowledge and information on government positions across different countries.
We met with UK government representatives in advance of the G7 summit to present them with our recommendations, which we also shared with our civil society partners. We then worked with civil society partners to encourage them to adopt our recommendations. We were pleased to see digital health included in the Final Leaders Statement for the first time and we issued a public statement cautiously welcoming this.
For the G20 we actively engaged through the Civil Society 20 Group, contributing to their position papers and statements, and ensuring digital health was prioritised in particular in the policy pack that represents global civil society’s collective call on G20 leaders. We ensured all information was fed back to our coalition partners in the G20 Working Group. We developed a set of recommendations that we circulated to all our partners engaged in the G20 Working Group for them to use in their government lobbying. We then issued a statement in response to the final Health Ministers’ Declaration expressing our disappointment with the final outcome. Through these engagements Transform Health is actively engaging in global conversation that have national level consequences on policy and funding priorities.
Other events we participated in include the Global Digital Health Forum, the African Health Agenda International conference (AHAIC), the AeHin Annual Conference, the Women in Technology Global Forum, the Medicus Mundi Symposium, International Planned Parenthood’s East and South East Asia Regional Forum, the Resilient Health Futures event, the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Forum for the Future, and the Edison Alliance Health Meeting, the UN75 dialogue, and the World Health Summit.
#DigitalHealth was included as a priority in the #G7Summit Health Track for the first time. @Trans4m_Health welcomes this inclusion and encourages the #G7 to work closely with the G20 & G77 countries to implement these commitments. #HealthForAll https://t.co/1ldzmoVTLA— Transform Health (@Trans4m_Health) June 9, 2021
#DigitalHealth was included as a priority in the #G7Summit Health Track for the first time. @Trans4m_Health welcomes this inclusion and encourages the #G7 to work closely with the G20 & G77 countries to implement these commitments. #HealthForAll https://t.co/1ldzmoVTLA
A great success of 2021 was the launch of Digital Health Week, a moment that brought together our partners and other organisations worldwide to champion the role of digital health in their countries and contexts. Transform Health created this space for organisations to set up and run their own events in their country and region. Digital Health Week is a moment, and an opportunity for organisations to tell their own stories, promote their own work, champion successes and highlight challenges, and importantly, to collaborate with others to accelerate the adoption of digital health to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The events held during Digital Health Week brought together organisations such as the World Health Organisation, GIZ (German Development Cooperation), the Indonesian Public Health Association (IAKMI) and the Brazilian Association of Telemedicine and Telehealth. Organisations convened key stakeholders such as government ministers, CEOs of private companies, civil society organisations, youth and marginalised groups, including the participation of the Ministries of Health of Indonesia, Zanzibar, Bhutan, Lao PDR, India and Ghana.Organisations also ran campaigns, published articles and podcasts, and shared best practices. Digital Health Week saw important conversations and shared learnings from digital health programs in low and middle income countries, the funding of digital health transformation, power imbalances in the collection and use of health data, how to govern health data ethically, and the interoperability of different platforms to strengthen health systems.
“DHW gave AeHIN the opportunity to share member country knowledge, their current digital health projects, and create awareness on the importance of digital health foundations, especially governance.”
“Transform Health’s initiative has come at the right moment. We are at a point where mobile and e-health must be integrated into the delivery of health services. The benefits of digital health are enormous – so much so that we need to all come on board to put in the driving force.”
“The 2021 Digital Health Week reinforced the commitment of Transform Health Indonesia to achieve the digitalization of primary health care services in Indonesia by harnessing digital technology and use of health data to achieve UHC by 2030.”
Transform Health also hosted its own event during Digital Health Week, in partnership with Fondation Botnar, the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030, Medicus Mundi Switzerland and AI for Good (ITU). The event brought together government representatives, international organisations, civil society, youth representatives, and industry representatives to hear diverse stakeholder perspectives and commitments to advance this agenda. This event marked the first public launch of Transform Health.
The event featured the launch of a new report by Transform Health, The case for digital health: Accelerating progress to achieve UHC. The report features six key recommendations for governments and companies to push for the digital transformation of health. These recommendations will guide Transform Health’s advocacy and campaigning over the coming years.
Transform Health launched a 🚨 new report w/ key calls to action.We're calling on political leaders, tech companies, international donors & other #DigitalHealth partners to accelerate progress to #UHC.🧵THREAD on our key asks👇🏾 this #DigitalHealthWeek.https://t.co/pim8WLuov1— Transform Health (@Trans4m_Health) December 1, 2021
Transform Health launched a 🚨 new report w/ key calls to action.We're calling on political leaders, tech companies, international donors & other #DigitalHealth partners to accelerate progress to #UHC.🧵THREAD on our key asks👇🏾 this #DigitalHealthWeek.https://t.co/pim8WLuov1
During 2021 we made great progress towards our second strategic objective, ensuring the creation of a global health data governance framework that would protect individuals rights to privacy and security while enabling health data to be used for public good. We worked with partners to develop a set of Health Data Governance Principles that are equitable, inclusive and human rights based. We will be using these to influence the creation of a global health data governance framework.
These Principles have been developed with strong participation from civil society and youth across five of the six WHO regions. We collaborated with partners to develop workshops in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Two further global workshops and a global youth workshop were also held. Over 185 individuals from 134 organisations participated in these consultations. To ensure further engagement in the elaboration of these principles, we launched a month-long public consultation on the draft Principles, in October. We published an article on the participatory process of building Health Data Governance Principles.
🚨 We've launched a public consultation and want YOUR input! Don’t miss this opportunity to feed into the civil society-led #HealthDataGovernance Principles.✍🏾📅 The consultation period is open 27 Oct-3 Dec.🔗 https://t.co/dSJtDsIcki📢 Spread the word!— Transform Health (@Trans4m_Health) October 27, 2021
🚨 We've launched a public consultation and want YOUR input! Don’t miss this opportunity to feed into the civil society-led #HealthDataGovernance Principles.✍🏾📅 The consultation period is open 27 Oct-3 Dec.🔗 https://t.co/dSJtDsIcki📢 Spread the word!