Committed to connecting the world


BDT Director's Speeches

High-level Policy Dialogue on Digital Health
Geneva, Switzerland  23 May 2016

Digital Health for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing for All
A high-level Policy Dialogue on Digital Health
Geneva, 23 May 2016. 14h30-15h00
Opening Remarks
Mr Brahima Sanou, BDT Director

Excellences, Ministers of Information and Communication Technologies,
Representatives of WHO and Health Sector
Representatives of Private sector, Academia,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Secretary-General of ITU and of the other elected officials of ITU, it is my great pleasure welcome you to this High-level Policy Dialogue on “Digital Health for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing for All”.

We are very pleased to organize this Policy Dialogue in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, part of our meeting tomorrow will be conducted as a side event of the World Health Assembly 2016. This is a great symbol of the spirit of collaboration that needs to happen between ICT sector and Health sector.

As the Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunication and ICTs, my objective is to connect the world, and to bring the benefits of ICTs to all the people of the world– wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

We are here today because we all agree that we cannot envision to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 3 and its 13 targets particularly Universal Health Coverage without using innovative tools. And ICTs are one of them.

In a world where health systems are facing increasing pressure to improve quality, accessibility and affordability, incorporating ICTs in health delivery mechanisms will definitely bring value.

How can we, by using ICTs, break the inequalities that exist in health coverage so that no one is left behind?

I have a reality, not a dream. My reality is that in the very near future, all community health workers, midwives, nurses and doctors will have in their hands a tablet or smart phones so they are connected to the global healthcare knowledge.

Building on the more than 7.2 billion mobile subscriptions we could improve diseases prevention and treatment in a very cost-effective manner.

This is a great opportunity and it is precisely with this in mind that we have designed this two-day event to facilitate a structured and constructive high-level dialogue between Health and ICT sectors stakeholders.

We believe that this Policy Dialogue is an extremely important effort to create policy synergies where any ICT national Policy will take into consideration health sector needs and where Health national Policies will identify how to strategically use ICT for their own transformation and development.

It is all about bringing the ecosystem together. Governments have a pivotal role in convening all the stakeholders to build comprehensive and sustainable strategies, policies and regulatory framework for digital health creating therefore the right enabling environment to use ICTs for health..

The private sector has much more to offer than simply the connectivity infrastructure. It can provide technical expertise around content and service delivery, data management and analytics, security, hosting solutions, etc. to support successful digital health initiatives.

This structured dialogue will start here, but our objective is that it will continue to happen at each country level for concrete results. We need to move from vertical silo policies to collaborative policies between ICT and health sectors.

I would like to thank you for participating in this meeting today and I would like to thank particularly WHO for our fruitful collaboration over the last years that is setting a model for interagency collaboration.

I wish you all a very productive meeting.

I thank you.