This is a statement made at the 71st Session of the World Health Organization RCM for the AFRO Region on Agenda item 14: Framework for implementing the Global strategy on digital health in the WHO African Region.
Honourable Chair, distinguished delegates,
On behalf of the World Heart Federation, we commend the leadership role that the WHO has established for itself in the field of digital health and welcome the Secretariat’s timely Global Strategy on Digital Health.
Circulatory diseases are the world’s number one cause of disability and mortality. LMICs, including those in Africa, are seeing an increasing burden of circulatory conditions. Global ageing trends will only increase the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and additional comorbidities. Digital health technologies hold the potential to improve prevention, diagnostics and care for those living with circulatory diseases, provided that the principles of patient care, health equity between and within countries and data protection guide their implementation.
The 2019 Global Summit on Circulatory Health convened more than 100 thought leaders and changemakers in health, technology, policymaking, academia and civil society. They called for equitable and patient-centred digital health frameworks, adapted to the country context, built on principles of data privacy and health equality, and supported by closer collaboration between all areas of government, healthcare professionals, industry, tech and patient organizations, and we echo that call today.
It’s up to all of us to make this happen.