The Asia eHealth Information Network conducted the AeHIN 7th General Meeting with the theme “Strengthening Regional Health Systems Response to COVID-19: Digital Health Experiences in Asia” on January 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2021.

The four-day conference was held virtually for the first time. A total of 328 attendees from 42 countries represented governments, the academe, non-profit organizations, and the development sector.

The conference aimed to:

  • Compare and contrast the nature of digital health response to COVID-19 at the regional level
  • Discuss how regional digital health projects in Asia support the national government in addressing the pandemic
  • Explain AeHIN’s digital health regional call to action for pandemics and universal health coverage (UHC)
  • Explain digital health resources from existing regional digital health networks and
  • Identify the activities being implemented by relevant digital health groups in Asia amid the pandemic

AeHIN Chair Dr. Boonchai Kijsanayotin and AeHIN partners, namely Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, PATH, BID Learning Network, Fondation Pierre Fabre, GIZ Nepal, the World Health Organization, and the Asian Development Bank, opened the first day of the conference.

Their messages encapsulated how regions can fill the gaps in governance, architecture, project management, and standards and interoperability by coming together around a shared agenda, continuing knowledge-sharing and peer learning, and using standards-based tools, and leveraging already available resources.

After the opening ceremony, representatives from Cambodia, Hong Kong, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Bhutan, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand gathered in two sets of panels.

They shared that monitoring and evaluating is needed to ensure that good points are improved and mistakes are corrected, collecting and sharing data on time for better decision making, working fast with worthy partners, and utilizing digital health technologies in planning the next steps especially vaccination.

The AeHIN Marketplace was opened on the second day of the conference. Twenty-two groups presented their digital health solutions to help countries in their COVID-19 response.

The AeHIN Business meeting was held on the third day with the aim to assess the needs and interests of AeHIN members and plan activities for the rest of the year. The activities AeHIN members are most keen on joining are Digital Health Leadership Program, Training on Standards and Interoperability and Data Governance Workshops, Enterprise Architecture Training, Convergence Workshops, and ICD-11 Training.

A meeting with AeHIN Communities namely the Community of Interoperability Labs (COIL), AeHIN Regional Enterprise Architecture Council for Health (REACH), and the openIMIS Community of Practice in Asia followed to review recent AeHIN activities and plan for the next steps.

The AeHIN Parner Share was also held on the third day of the conference. The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation supported groups working on applications and data. GIZ has continued its country implementations and is expanding openIMIS for other social protection schemes. The WHO shared its work on the Global Digital Health Strategy. PATH shared its work with Digital Square in landscape existing digital technologies. The Fondation Pierre Fabre shared its works promoting knowledge sharing and professional training.

On the last day of the conference, a panel with the Network of Networks (NoN) was held. The next steps mentioned were to meet every two months, work on the NoN manifest, align resources, and find more networks to join the NoN.

Health leaders from Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and Hong Kong expressed their support to the AeHIN Community and its Regional Call to Action for Digital Health in Pandemics.

To read the draft of the proceedings, please visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10mCe5nbkYy76aeUn597G4mRwX6nfk_qpKvog_OzUGtA/edit?usp=sharing

To view the conference recordings, please visit: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLN7M3nT7qGnclvtHr3N194a3l7S1b1xd-