WHO has received overwhelming pro-bono support from technology companies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, 30 of the world’s leading digital technology experts gathered in a virtual roundtable to help advance WHO’s collaborative response to COVID-19.
This pandemic has triggered an unprecedented demand for digital health technology solutions and has revealed successful solutions such as for population screening, tracking the infection, prioritizing the use and allocation of resources, and designing targeted responses.
“We need your commitment, so we can turn those ideas into reality and work with public health agencies and frontline health workers to put this pandemic to rest,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his welcoming remark. “We can only tackle this global threat – and get our economy back on track – by working together.”
The meeting was co-facilitated by Steve Davis and Precious Malebona Matsoso, co-chairs of WHO Digital Health Technical Advisory Group.
The goals of the meeting were as follows:
- Introduce WHO’s Digital Health & Innovation efforts for COVID-19 and seek support from interested technology companies in the design and execution of those initiatives.
- Build on WHO’s COVID-19 efforts through new collaboration and knowledge sharing, to deliver targeted solutions through a coordinated effort to support countries facing stages of this epidemic in different ways and different times.
- Share and explore known gaps and areas that lack focus. Topics include user-focused solutions, combating misinformation, supply chain management, applications supporting health workers, community engagement platforms, support knowledge management capacities, research and development support, recovery planning work.
- Secure volunteer and pro-bono resources from global tech companies to design and execute response initiatives with WHO.
Bernardo Mariano Junior, director of WHO’s Department of Digital Health and Innovation, called for unity in response efforts, “The world needs to be well prepared and united in the spirit of shared responsibility, to digitally detect, protect, respond, and prepare the recovery for COVID 19. No single entity or single country initiative will be sufficient. We need everyone.”