Given the critical importance of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health (MDGs 4 and 5), a high-level UN commission to improve global reporting, oversight and accountability for women's and children’s health – the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health – was established in January 2011 to increase the likelihood that pledges for women's and children's health are honoured and that resources are spent in the most effective way to save lives. One of the ten recommendations set by the Commission encourages “Innovation through information and communication technologies (ICT) for accountability”. The World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union are partners in supporting this recommendation.
Innovation through ICT is instrumental in improving the performance of health services and systems, including, for example, facilitating surveillance of maternal and child death, facility reporting, data administration, data sharing and improving civil registration and vital statistics. To ensure, however, that those services reach scale, an enabling environment for eHealth is required, covering policies, governance, human resources and health information standards, which are some of the key challenges towards large-scale use of ICT for health.
The integration of ICT in health systems remains a target to be achieved by many countries. Experience has shown that harnessing ICT for health requires commitment and planning at the national level, to make the best use of existing capacity while providing a solid foundation for investment and innovation. A national eHealth strategy can contribute to reaching health and development goals and, for some countries, will constitute a major step towards implementing recommendations such as those of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health.
With a view to supporting Innovation through ICT for improving Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, ITU, in coordination with WHO, is inviting a representative from your Ministry to a workshop to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on 30 September – 2 October 2013 to raise awareness about eHealth innovations that address women’s and children’s health, and to develop participants’ understanding of the main steps to developing a national eHealth strategy. The workshop will also include a review of a draft Regional eHealth Strategy developed by WHO’s Regional Office for South East Asia (SEARO).