Transform Health’s asks for the World Health Assembly, UHC High Level Meeting and G20
Digital health is already an important and growing part of most health systems. It offers a huge opportunity to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of reaching Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. The equitable, inclusive and sustainable digital transformation of health systems can help scale up access to primary health care services, strengthen resilient health systems, close equity gaps to deliver health for all.
Despite progress, many countries are not on track to achieve their UHC targets by 2030, with the COVID-19 pandemic having thrown many countries off course. The High-Level Meeting on UHC, taking place on the 21st of September, is an important juncture to spur action towards achieving UHC goals and to hold world leaders accountable to commitments made just four years ago in the Political Declaration from the 2019 United Nations High-Level Meeting on UHC. The 76th World Health Assembly in May and this year’s G20, which has prioritised digital health, are key milestone moments to help stimulate needed commitments and action.
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Transform Health – a coalition of 100+ organisations advocating for health for all in the digital age – is calling for digital health and health data governance to be prioritised as key accelerators and components for Universal Health Coverage to be achieved by 2030. Today we have published eight key asks for this critical year of action. At the World Health Assembly in May, the High-level meeting on UHC in September, and as part of the G20, we urge governments and other stakeholders to:
- Prioritise digital health transformation as a cross-functional enabler and accelerator to achieving UHC by 2030, rather than a siloed vertical health issue.
- Champion health data governance and call for the development of a global framework to establish a set of common regulatory standards (for subsequent endorsement by governments at the World Health Assembly in May 2023), to strengthen national legislation and regulation and govern health data sharing across countries.
- Ensure a global health data governance framework is developed through a transparent and inclusive multistakeholder process (with the meaningful engagement of civil society) and underpinned by equity and rights-based Health Data Governance Principles. We call on governments to endorse the Principles, which provide a foundation for the development of a global framework and should inform national legislation, regulation and policies.
- Increase and better target funding for digital health, to support the equitable, inclusive, sustainable digital transformation of health systems, as part of wider health system investment to deliver UHC. Ensure funding is coordinated and aligned with national priorities.
- Develop national costed digital health strategies as an integral component of UHC and health system strengthening agendas. Strategies should be developed, implemented and monitored in an inclusive and participatory manner, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.
- Establish a strong national regulatory and policy environment to guide the digital transformation of the health system so that it is inclusive, equitable and sustainable. This is important to establish what kind of digitalised health system a country needs to achieve UHC.
- Strengthen mechanisms for meaningful multi-stakeholder engagement at all levels of planning, strategy, execution and monitoring to ensure the digital transformation is effective in improving health outcomes and accelerating UHC progress. This must include the meaningful engagement of civil society, youth, women and marginalised and hard-to-reach communities.
- Close the divide in digital access, prioritising strategic, targeted and coordinated actions to ensure this happens. This is a prerequisite for equitable access to technology-enabled health services. This means confronting coverage gaps, affordability and digital literacy.
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We cannot miss this critical opportunity to prioritise digital health and health data governance to accelerate progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030.