Transform Health and partners had an exciting, action-packed week at #WHA76! In the lead up to this year’s World Health Assembly, we had two key asks for Member States: to 1) strengthen health data governance and 2) improve investment in digital health transformation. We were happy to see growing traction and commitment on both of these agendas over the last week!

Prioritising digital health investment to deliver UHC

We had a vibrant event on the 23rd May, “An investment in digital health is an investment in UHC”, co-hosted with the Digital Connected Care Coalition (DCCC), Geneva Digital Health Hub (gdhub), OECD, PATH, UHC2030 and Young Experts: Tech for Health, PATH), with further speakers from Novartis Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and WHO – showing the commitment of some key players on the need to prioritise digital health investment. 

We heard from Farid Fezoua from IFC about the power of digital to create accessible and resilient health systems and from Alain Labrique from WHO about how digital health is already at scale and when we’re talking about digital health, we’re talking about UHC. We also heard a strong call to action from Nick Tomlinson at OECD (also representing UHC2030) for digital health to be prioritised in the Political Declaration of the upcoming High-level meeting on UHC (which is being negotiated by governments now)! 

We had energetic group discussions with many great ideas on prioritising action and investment in digital health transformation to accelerate UHC progress, including around increasing domestic investment; better aligned and coordinated donor investment; improved tracking and accountability; private-public partnerships; inclusive and meaningful civil society engagement; and collective knowledge as a global public good. We look forward to collaborating with partners to take these forward through the Digital Health Investment working group that was recently set up by Transform Health. 

Growing political momentum to strengthen health data governance

Our event on the 24th, “Towards a global health data governance framework”, saw strong political support on the need to strengthen health data governance regulation and for the development of a global framework to build country consensus and alignment on this. We are grateful to our Ministry of Health co-hosts from Cameroon, India, Maldives, Philippines and Sri Lanka and further government speakers from Costa Rica, Tanzania and Zanzibar, and from WHO and Africa CDC, who expressed strong support and commitment for this agenda. As put by Jean Philbert Nsengimana from Africa CDC – A global health data governance framework would provide a template to support countries and would help harmonise and support cross-border data flows

There is clear political momentum to initiate the development of a global health data governance framework, for endorsement through a resolution at next year’s World Health Assembly. We need to build on this momentum and ensure the development of a framework starts now. For this to happen, we governments must rally together and formally request WHO to support the process, including convening a Member State consultation in the coming months.

Seizing the current momentum to deliver action

We have an important opportunity in front of us that we cannot let pass us by. We must seize the current (and growing) momentum on these important agendas and ensure they lead to concrete action in the weeks and months ahead. This includes ensuring that digital health investment and health data governance are prioritised:

And urgently, we must ensure that immediate steps are taken now to initiate the development of a global health data governance framework

As key accelerators and components for UHC to be achieved by 2030, these issues must be prioritised by governments and other stakeholders. We look forward to working together to ensure this happens!