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USAID Vision for Systems-Level Action in Digital Health Solutions

By Wayan Vota on January 20, 2021

usaid digital health vision

USAID envisions a world in which advances in digital technologies are leveraged to help people access the information and services they need to live healthy and prosperous lives.

A Vision for Action in Digital Health is the Agency’s first dedicated policy guidance for its investments in digital technologies that support health programs in its partner countries. This Vision builds on prior USAID policy, including the Journey to Self-Reliance and the USAID Digital Strategy, and interprets that guidance for the global health sector. It also charts a path for the implementation of the Principles of Donor Alignment for Digital Health, which USAID co-authored and endorsed in 2018.

The Vision addresses the challenges of fragmentation, and lack of sustainability and interoperability, of many digital health technologies used in USAID’s partner countries. To address these challenges the Vision outlines a systems-level approach to four strategic priorities that support partner countries’ health sector digital transformation and align USAID investments in global health:

  • Country-level Capacity in Digital Health: Investments in country-level capacity in digital health–including in leadership and governance, and institutional and workforce capacity–are essential to enabling investments in digital tools and systems to succeed.
  • National Digital Health Strategies: Strong national digital-health strategies and costed implementation plans provide an organizing policy and budgeting framework that help align funders’ investments to country- identified health priorities and plans.
  • National Digital Health Architectures: National digital-health architectures provide a blueprint, including through the use of standards, to identify country-specific technology requirements, that can prioritize interoperability between national digital-health systems, and streamline future investments. National digital-health architectures can lower the financial and management burden of competing digital systems; strengthen national health institutions and the provision of health care overall; and promote the effectiveness, reach, and cost-efficiencies of digital investments.
  • Global Goods: Global goods” include content (knowledge products) and software tools, which frequently are open-source, adaptable, and reusable to meet the diverging needs of various geographic or thematic contexts. Global goods can include reference guides; reusable digital components, such as identification or messaging systems deployable across sectors; as well as software tools specific to the health sector. The use of global goods can support the scaling of tested tools built to meet common use-environments in LMICs.

USAID’s Vision for Action in Digital Health calls for all of the Agency’s staff to take dedicated steps to ensure our related investments align with, and provide support to, these priority areas. Fundamentally, the Vision presents a roadmap for how USAID can encourage careful planning, interoperability, strong governance, and long-term sustainability of digital health interventions.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “USAID Vision for Systems-Level Action in Digital Health Solutions”

  1. Sikiru says:

    Dear Wayan vota,
    I need you to guide me on how to write proposal on digital health solution.

    Thanks
    Sikiru Gbenga