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Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health launched

The Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health was launched in London yesterday. President Maithripala Sirisena was a special guest on the occasion.

The launch was a part of a special Side Event to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 on ‘Global Health Security & the Digital Health Society 2030 – Innovation & Investment for One Planetary Health & Universal Health Coverage’.

The Centre was proposed by Prof. Vajira Dissanayake of the University of Colombo in 2016 and incorporated into a Commonwealth Policy Brief on Digital Systems for One health approved by the Commonwealth Health Ministers in Geneva in May 2017.

The keynote address at the event was delivered by Dr. Christopher Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister of Malta.

Prof. Dissanayake will give leadership, as the Chairman, to the Centre. He held the position of the President of the Commonwealth Medical Association since 2016, and he has been leading a Commonwealth Wide Digital Health Initiative since he took office in October 2016 at the 24th Triennial Conference of the Association. The initiative is expected to gather momentum with the establishment of the Centre. Issuing a special message on the occasion, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, of the World Health Organization (WHO), stated “As you know, Universal Health Coverage is WHO’s top priority.

Our aim is a world in which all people receive the high-quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship.”

Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary General, The Commonwealth of Nations, stated that “Digital health systems are an increasingly important component in the delivery of health services and care.”