The Digital Health Resolution recently adopted at the World Health Assembly last May 2018 recognized the potential of digital technologies to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular to support health coverage in all countries in health promotion and disease prevention and to improve the accessibility, quality and affordability of health services. The resolution called to consider, as appropriate, how digital technologies could be integrated into existing health systems infrastructures and regulation in order to reduce the burden on health systems. It called also to build capacity for human resources for digital health, as appropriate, across both health and technology sectors.

In this respect, WHO African Regional Office in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently launched a joint “Digital Health Initiative for Africa” that aims at building a capable workforce to effectively use ICT for Health and wellbeing and consolidating existing efforts and resources towards making available ICT foundations and platforms while addressing the need of multi-stakeholders partnerships that can bring about sustainable adoption and scaling-up of Digital Health.

In this context, an ITU-WHO AFRO Regional Workshop on “Capacity building for digital health leadership” is planned to take place in Maseru, Lesotho, from the 21-30 November 2018.This regional workshop will provide in-person training to participants from 10 Anglophone countries coming from both ministries of health and ministries of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It will equip digital health African leaders at ministries of health and ICT, as well as staff at WHO and ITU regional and country offices with the skills needed to adopt a “system-based approach” to reach integrated and scalable digital health implementation to reach the SDGs in their countries. The workshop will alsocontribute to the development of a comprehensive training curriculum to be used to build capacities of digital health workforce at country level. The key workshop objective is to bring together digital health coordinators and leaders from ministries of health and ICT who are in charge of leading the development and implementation of national digital health programmes in their countries along with International organizations, NGOs, experts and donors to build participants capacity to lead countries’ digital health initiatives. It will also engage with participants to develop a comprehensive training curriculum to be used to train digital health workforce at country level.

Specific Objectives

  1. Build digital health coordinators and leaders’ capacity for a wide range of digital health related skills
  2. Develop a comprehensive digital health training curriculum and content that addresses existing digital health workforce capacity gaps
  3. Ensure consistency and coherence across different digital health topics and training modules
  4. Gain understanding of the holistic and system level approach to digital health to ensure scalability, sustainability and interoperability.

Expected Outcomes

  • Countries’ digital health leaders have the knowledge and understanding of the wide range of digital health skills and issues to be able to steer and orient national digital health stakeholders
  • A comprehensive Digital Health Training Curriculum and content developed addressing the main capacity gaps that are identified in countries
  • Consensus reached on main activities required to develop the country digital health infrastructure and systems for integrated care and what would be the minimum main deliverables per activity
  • Competencies and skills acquired for strategic digital health professionals at country level;