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World Health Organization (WHO) + COVID 19

Table of Contents

The WHO is the international body assigned with addressing our health on this planet.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has variously affected all people everywhere on the Earth since 2019.  The virulent spread of illnesses and death are impacting social interactions, politics and policies, our economies, and personal and national wellbeing.  The way ahead is filled with life-saving strides, risks and uncertainties.  Other diseases (Ebola, Malaria, Cholera, Zika + ) also continue to erupt locally around the world. 

The networking of medical research, tele-health outreach, applications and emergency care is

progressing rapidly, concurrently driven by the need of the world’s people to have equitable and affordable access to critical services.  To meet this challenge, the WHO operates and continues to implement a number of critical preparedness, resources, trainings and crisis networks.

WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions

On April 17, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its guidelines on digital health interventions. In the guidelines, recommendations were made on using appropriate digital technology to achieve the aim of Universal Health Coverage.  The guideline makes recommendations about telemedicine, which allows people living in remote locations to obtain health services by using mobile phones, web portals, or other digital tools.

To support governments in monitoring and coordination of digital investments in their country, WHO has developed the Digital Health Atlas, an online global repository where implementers can register their digital health activities. WHO has also established innovative partnerships with the ITU, such as the BeHe@lthy, BeMobile initiative for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, as well as efforts for building digital health capacity through the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

On 6 March 2019, Dr Tedros announced the creation of the Department of Digital Health to enhance WHO’s role in assessing digital technologies and support Member States in prioritizing, integrating and regulating them. Bernardo Mariano is WHO’s Chief Information Officer.

The Digital Health Atlas

The Digital Health Atlas is a WHO global technology registry platform aiming to strengthen the value and impact of digital health investments, improve coordination, and facilitate institutionalization and scale.

Addressing mobile health

The use of mobile and wireless technologies has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery across the globe. There are reportedly more than 7 billion mobile telephone subscriptions across the world, over 70% of which are in low- or middle- income countries. In many places, people are more likely to have access to a mobile telephone than to clean water.

To address this challenge, the Be He@lthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative was set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication union (ITU) in 2012.  BHBM works with governments to scale up mHealth services for NCDs and their risk factors. Millions of people have already been reached through the programmes and evaluation shows that they are impacting positively on users’ health.

WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Weekly Epidemiological Update and Weekly Operational Update

The Weekly Epidemiological Update provides an overview of the global, regional and country-level COVID-19 cases and deaths, highlighting key data and trends; as well as other pertinent epidemiological information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update reports on WHO and partners’ actions in response to the pandemic.

WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard

The WHO COVID-19 app

The app works with devices running iOS 9.0 and up and with devices running Android 4.4.   It is currently in limited release in Nigeria, to roll out to other English-speaking countries soon.

Data availability: A visual summary

Data tells a story about us all: individuals, communities and countries. The better-quality data and analysis we have, the better we can understand people and address their needs. This is why data is at the centre of good, informed decision-making to positively tackle the real problems.

Despite decades of substantial progress, gaps in health data – notably lack of available or high- quality data, infrequency of data collection – remain a hurdle in many parts of the world. 

Incomplete or low-quality data may mislead policy makers’ efforts to allocate resources effectively or prioritise interventions. COVID-19 has highlighted these gaps even further.  We now have the tools to collect, monitor, analyse and use data to achieve the ambitious milestones set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO’s Triple Billion targets.