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Shaping the future of global health: highlights from the World Health Assembly

The global health community’s advocacy efforts is contributing to keeping a momentum for community and digital health programs. The World Health Assembly presented a great opportunity to continue to build on the role of community health work and D-tree was thrilled to be joining on the sidelines of the assembly.

We attended sideline events about digital health investments and health data governance organized by Transform Health and its partners. We also attended the launch of the Global Digital Health Monitor by HealthEnabled. Riccardo Lampariello, our CEO, discussed digital transformation learnings and insights on a panel organized by the Geneva Digital Health Hub and PATH, and we listened to the perspectives of community health workers at high-level ministerial events. Three of our key takeaways:

Digital health saves lives

We couldn’t agree more with Alain Labrique, Director for the Department of Digital Health and Innovation at the World Health Organization, who was looking to bust the myth that digital health is not at national scaled.

Digital health is at scale and is saving lives and if there is one thing I want you to leave with today, it is with that message

Alain Labrique, Director for the Department of Digital Health and Innovation, World Health Organization

He shared examples from different corners of the world, one being how every single household in Zanzibar is connected to a community health volunteer through the digital community health program, Jamii ni Afya. At D-tree, we recognize the transformative potential of digital technology with Jamii Afya being an excellent example of this.

“Data is everything”

We were pleased to sit down with the Minister of Health, Zanzibar, Hon. Nassor Ahmed Mazrui. Being truly passionate about community health, he shared the challenges Zanzibar is facing and the opportunities and priorities for the government over the next few years. He mentioned the importance of data and how this can support the health system in Zanzibar at all levels.

The data from the communities is useful for the whole government. With the data, we know the type and the frequency of a disease in each district in the country, and we can optimize the deployment of our restrained resources

Hon. Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, Minister of Health, Zanzibar

A high-level side event hosted and organized by Transform Health focused on the important topic of health data. Ministers of Health, including Hon. Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, shared their experiences, opportunities and challenges.

At D-tree, we work across data use, science and governance. We recognize the importance of leveraging data and at the same time the ethical and responsible use of data and are proud to have endorsed the health data governance principles.

We need to continue to advocate for community health workers

Together with Community Health Impact Coalition and coalition members, we advocated for proCHWs – community health workers to be skilled, salaried, supervised and supplied. This is a topic very close to our heart and we were excited to follow the discussions on the sidelines and the developments at the official assembly. Community Health Impact Coalition’s wrap-up shares the key highlights.

  • Margaret Odera, the only community health worker attending WHA, spoke on behalf of the proCHW movement and the importance for community health workers to be skilled, salaried, supplied and supervised.
  • The Zero Draft for the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage maintained the five proCHW priorities embedded within the previous version and now also includes digital health systems at the community level. At D-tree, we strongly believe in the power of digital to accelerate change, this is exciting progress!

World Health Assembly is over but our work for a world where everyone can live longer, happier and healthier lives continues. We look forward to working with funders, partners and advocates to make this a reality!

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