Sustainable Development working group launches report

By Maxwell Awumah, GNA

Hohoe, Sept. 25, GNA – The Broadband
Commission for Sustainable Development Working Group on Digital Health,
co-chaired by the Novartis Foundation and Intel, has launched a new report to
help countries realise the potential of digital health to fight non-communicable
diseases (NCDs).

The Report; “The Promise of Digital
Health: Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases to Accelerate Universal Health
Coverage in Low and Middle Income Countries” includes practical
recommendations and best-practice examples.

The Report, copied to the Ghana News Agency,
was launched alongside the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, which will
review global progress towards preventing and controlling NCDs.

NCDs, such as heart and lung diseases, cancer
and diabetes, were responsible for 41 million deaths in 2016 with over 85 per
cent of deaths occurring in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Worldwide, digital technology is already
contributing to better and faster healthcare – healthcare that is more
empowering and accessible for patients, more efficient for healthcare providers
and more cost-effective for health systems.

The report sets out six building blocks,
accompanied by country examples, to help policymakers realise the full
potential of digital technology to strengthen their health systems and
accelerate Universal Health Coverage.

It urges policy-makers on the need to
prioritise, formulate and coordinate national digital health strategies,
strengthen legal frameworks that are essential to protecting patients and enabling
innovation and standardised infrastructure.

Again, it envisages interoperability between
diverse digital health solutions and data sources, combine partnership
expertise, assets and ideas to amplify the scale and impact of successful
digital health solutions as well as sustained financing to scale successful
digital health solutions.

Dr Ann Aerts, the Head of the Novartis
Foundation and Co-Chair of the Working Group, urged governments to view digital
health as a necessity for achieving Universal Health Coverage.

“Digital health should be considered an
integral part of the health system, just like hospital beds are. Over the past
decade, we have seen how simple and readily available digital technology can
transform health systems, expand access to millions and revolutionise how we
treat chronic diseases such as NCDs.”

Jennifer Esposito, the Worldwide General
Manager, Health and Life Sciences Group, Intel Corporation, said: “Digital
technologies such as artificial intelligence and high-speed 5G networks can
improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare, enhance health system
governance, and improve monitoring and accountability – all critical for
addressing the growing burden of NCDs.”

“This report sets a clear process for
implementing digital health solutions, including ensuring standardisation and
interoperability at a national level.”


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