India has identified digital health as one of its top priorities and has gained excellent expertise in developing and implementing digital health programmes, said UNICEF India's chief of health Luigi d'Aquino on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world realise the potential of digital services in improving the availability, accessibility and efficiency of many health programmes, through various applications and initiatives, d'Aquino, who is attending the second G20 Health Working Group meeting, told PTI.
According to him, while considerable progress has been made, the digital health space is evolving fast and many challenges and opportunities need to be explored and addressed. Nevertheless, the evolving tools, vision, and strategies have made it easier for citizens to access digital health services, he said.
"For instance, the CoWin app has enabled millions of people to access COVID-19 vaccines while telemedicine has provided essential care to many citizens when access to healthcare facilities was constrained due to the coronavirus pandemic," d'Aquino said.
"At UNICEF, we prioritise children's rights, including the fundamental rights to life, health and development. Therefore, we actively support and promote digital health initiatives that can assist healthcare workers such as ASHA, ANMs, and nurses," UNICEF India's chief of health said.
To that end, UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to reconceptualize the Reproductive and Child Health Portal. This will enable healthcare workers to provide real-time data about women and children which can influence planning, decision-making and tracking of the most marginalized or at-risk population and improve health outcomes for children, d'Aquino stressed.
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"We also work with various states of India to conceptualise, implement, monitor and scale up digital health solutions that can enhance access to healthy behaviours, practices and services," he added.
The second meeting of the G20 health working group aims to leverage the advocacy power of the forum for consolidation of all the existing initiatives in health emergencies, prevention and preparedness. Apart from India, delegates from 19 G20 member states, 10 countries and 22 international organisations are participating in the meeting.
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