Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran, Executive Director of AeHIN, represented AeHIN at the Global Conference on Digital Health titled ‘Taking UHC to the Last Citizen‘ co-organized by the Ministry of Health (MOH) India and the World Health Organization South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO) in New Delhi, India on March 20-21, 2023.

Udayasankaran joined as a panelist in the second session, Digital Health at Population Scale – Strategic Enablers, to introduce AeHIN’s mandate to facilitate peer-learning, sharing, and support. He also gave an overview on conducting convergence workshops with MOHs.

He shared that countries have similar issues. Several digital health interventions, tools, and frameworks are available on paper, but countries are still having difficulties putting them into practice. Challenges in sustaining or continuing current digital health programs also emerge when political transitions and leadership changes occur.

AeHIN helps address these by co-organizing convergence workshops led by Ministries of Health, bringing together different stakeholders in the country and helping them refine their digital health strategy.

In convergence workshops, a country checks where they stand regarding its national digital landscape. They identify all stakeholders, other ministries, and partners, talk about the principles of donor alignment, and build a shared big picture instead of working in silos.

For countries with a digital health blueprint like Sri Lanka, AeHIN helps them co-organize a convergence workshop focusing on governance and program management because taking the blueprint into action is challenging. Udayasankaran added, “once there is people interoperability, achieving interoperability in terms of fragmented health information systems becomes easier.”

At the end of his talk, Udayasankaran mentioned the Digital Health Convergence Meeting Toolkit (2018), developed with the support of AeHIN, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia (WHO SEARO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is available for sharing. This 2023, AeHIN, UNICEF, and PATH are planning to update the toolkit based on more recent experiences.

More AeHIN members who spoke at the conference:

  • Dr. Alain Labrique and Dr. Garrett Mehl from the WHO Headquarters
  • Prof. Vajira Dissanayake, Chairman of the Commonwealth Health Professionals and Partners Alliance and AeHIN Working Council (WC)
  • Ms. Aisthath Samiya, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Maldives and AeHIN Working Council (WC)

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