India At WEF: Need To Create Digital System For Last-Mile Healthcare Delivery

Opportunity India Desk
Opportunity India Desk May 26 2022 - 5 min read
India At WEF: Need To Create Digital System For Last-Mile Healthcare Delivery
Addressing ‘Unlocking the Power of Digital Health’ and ‘Closing Vaccines Gap’ at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya exhorted India’s commitment to strengthen the Digital Health System and closing the vaccine gap.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that there is a need to create digital healthcare system which is resilient, reliable and accessible till the last mile.

Addressing ‘Unlocking the Power of Digital Health’ and ‘Closing Vaccines Gap’ at the World Economic Forum (WEF), he exhorted India’s commitment to strengthen the Digital Health System and closing the vaccine gap.

“Digital health is a great equaliser and enabler to support Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals and can help ensure accessibility and affordability of health service delivery. With prime focus on moving from siloed to an ecosystem approach for digital health, India is creating a national framework for digital health in India,” he said.

He said that under Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, India has embarked on digital transformation of healthcare in India.

“The focus is on creation of a longitudinal Electronic Health Record for more than 1.3 billion people of India. We have already issued more than 220 million Unique Health IDs along with health facilities and provider registry,” he added. 

India has already utilised digital health interventions for its national programme management.  Reproductive and Child Healthcare IT platform tracks more than 120 million pregnant women for their Antenatal Care (ANC), Postnatal Care (PNC) check-up, delivery planning and over 90 million children for immunisation.

Health Management Information system regularly collates data regarding health programmes from more than 200,000 health facilities.

CoWIN platform monitors name-based vaccination and has monitored administration of more than 1.92 billion vaccination doses, including beneficiary registration, Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) monitoring and a QR code based digital certificate.

India has promoted digital health agenda at global level as Chair in Global Digital Health Partnership. It was India which had moved the Digital Health Resolution in WHO to prioritise the global framework for digital health. 

The Minister said that India has offered Co-WIN as a digital public good to other countries to aid their vaccination efforts, aligned with India’s commitment to the traditional philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

“The World Is One Family. Digital health interventions can help penetrate health service delivery till the last mile ensuring equitable healthcare service delivery. With technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud computing, 5G, nanotech, we need to create a tech-supported healthcare service delivery which is resilient, reliable, and accessible till the last mile,” he said in his address.

With paramount challenges of population, diversity, vaccine hesitancy and vaccine eagerness and coverage for vulnerable sections, we embarked with meticulous planning and advanced research under overall leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, much before other countries and have been successful in saving many lives, he said.

Further he said that India would like to further support and strengthen our ongoing relationship with Africa. India offers to support in augmenting research and development capability of African countries on medical countermeasures.

He said that India would also like to extend its support to Africa in taking the journey from vaccine availability till vaccination with focus on implementation based on India’s experience of vaccination 96 per cent of its population with 1st dose and 86 per cent with both doses. 

“We have also provided our COWIN platform to the world as a global public good. In this session on Closing the Vaccines gap, I envisage learning global best practices and am sure that this session will provide a programme of work for the Equitable Vaccine Manufacturing Collaborative (EVMC) designed to strengthen private - public sector partnerships across the vaccine manufacturing value chain in low and middle-income countries. India looks forward to support closing the vaccine gap in Africa,” he concluded.

New Accord To Improve Health And Vaccine in Low-Income Countries

A groundbreaking initiative launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting aims to greatly reduce the health inequities that exist between many lower-income countries and the rest of the world.

An Accord for a Healthier World is led by Pfizer. The pharmaceutical company will offer all its patent-protected medicines and vaccines, including the COVID jab, that are available in the United States and the European Union on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.
Speaking at the launch, Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer said, “As we learned in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply is only the first step to helping patients. We will work closely with global health leaders to make improvements in diagnosis, education, infrastructure, storage and more. Only when all the obstacles are overcome can we end healthcare inequities and deliver for all patients.”
 Pfizer will work with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to identify early insights and opportunities to ensure all medicines and vaccines can reach those in need. This will include expertise to support diagnosis, healthcare professional education and training along with supply chain management and other infrastructure enhancements. Learnings from these five countries will be applied to support a rollout to 40 more countries.

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