The World Health Organization (WHO) and European Commission have joined forces to establish a significant partnership in digital health, aimed at providing quality healthcare services to people worldwide.
This collaboration marks the foundation of the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN).
WHO’s Global Digital Health Certification Network is an open-source platform, built on robust & transparent standards that establishes the first building block of digital public health infrastructure for developing a wide range of digital products for strengthening pandemic preparedness and to deliver better health for all.
The partnership, which aligns with the EU Global Health Strategy’s digital action plan, was highlighted as a crucial milestone by Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
Kyriakides emphasized the importance of utilizing European best practices to contribute to global digital health standards and interoperability, ultimately benefiting those in need. The collaboration between the EU and WHO serves as an example of how joint efforts can deliver better health outcomes globally.
Under this partnership, close collaboration will take place in the development, management, and implementation of the WHO GDHCN system, leveraging the European Commission’s technical expertise in this domain.
The initial focus will be on ensuring the effective functioning of the current EU digital certificates.
In June 2023, the WHO will adopt the EU system of digital COVID-19 certification to establish a universal system that enables international mobility and safeguards individuals from ongoing and future health threats, including pandemics.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, highlighted that the aim of developing new digital health products is to ensure prompt and efficient access to quality healthcare services worldwide.
The WHO intends to provide all Member States with access to an open-source digital health tool, guided by principles of equity, innovation, transparency, and data protection.
This collaboration is based on the EU and WHO Global Health Strategy on digital health, following an agreement reached on November 30, 2022.
The two organizations are committed to strengthening their strategic cooperation on global health matters, reinforcing a robust multilateral system with the WHO at its core, supported by a strong EU.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, emphasized the global impact of the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate, which has been recognized by 80 countries and territories.
Breton expressed satisfaction that the WHO will build upon the privacy-preserving principles and cutting-edge technology of the EU certificate to create a global tool against future pandemics.
The statement emphasized that the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate has played a pivotal role in the EU’s efforts to combat the pandemic and facilitate international travel and tourism.
By using open-source technologies and standards, the EU DCC has become the most widely adopted solution worldwide, allowing for the integration of non-EU countries issuing certificates according to its specifications.