Two important WHO resolutions adopted during the 71 World Health Assembly to improve Health Information For All

4 June, 2018

Dear All,

I would like to share with you two resolutions have been adopted during the 71 World Health Assembly and will contribute to Health Information For All

Multilingualism: respect for equality among the official languages


This resolution refers to the importance of respect for the diversity of cultures and the plurality of international languages for improving health policies in the world, especially in the developing countries, and for giving all Member States access to information and to scientific and technical cooperation

REQUESTS the Director-General:

(1) to take into account recommendations contained in United Nations General Assembly resolution 71/328 and to work in cooperation with the United Nations Secretary-General’s language services, including to develop cost-neutral approaches;

(2) to apply the rules of the Organization that establish linguistic practice within the Secretariat in a cost-neutral practical, efficient and cost-effective manner;

(3) to ensure that all language services are given equal treatment and are provided with equally favourable working conditions and resources, with a view to achieving maximum quality of services;

(4) to promote multilingualism in the daily work of the Secretariat and encourage staff to take advantage of technical and scientific literature generated in the maximum number of languages, both official and non-official, in a cost effective-manner;

(5) to ensure that job descriptions specify the need for multilingual skills, including a working language of the Secretariat;

(6) to appoint an officer who can serve as Coordinator for Multilingualism, who will be responsible, inter alia, for supervising and supporting the overall implementation of multilingualism, and to call upon all WHO departments to fully support the work of the Coordinator in the implementation of the relevant mandates on multilingualism;

(7) to continue to improve and update in a cost-effective manner the WHO Internet site in all official languages to make it more widely accessible and to develop a multilingual public communication strategy;

(8) to take the necessary steps to ensure, even at the planning stages, that the timely translation into all official languages of the essential technical information of the Organization and WHO guidelines, whether in written, audiovisual or digital form, making such information more widely accessible without undue delay;

(9) to develop a report on the previous practices, possible technical options and solutions, including cost-effective, innovative measures and all programme and budgetary implications, to improve the current situation and ensure availability of the essential technical information of the Organization and WHO guidelines, whether in written, audiovisual or digital form in the six official languages, to be submitted for consideration by the Seventy-second World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board at its 144th session.

Multilingualism: implementation of action plan

Report by the Director-General (2018)

Digital health


This resolution refers to the need to ensure that digital health solutions complement and enhance existing health service delivery models, strengthen integrated, people-centred health services and contribute to improved population health, and health equity, including gender equality, and addressing the lack of evidence on the impact of digital health in these respects

URGES Member States:

(1) to assess their use of digital technologies for health, including in health information systems at the national and subnational levels, in order to identify areas of improvement, and to prioritize, as appropriate, the development, evaluation, implementation, scale-up and greater utilization of digital technologies, as a means of promoting equitable, affordable and universal access to health for all, including the special needs of groups that are vulnerable in the context of digital health;

(2) to consider, as appropriate, how digital technologies could be integrated into existing health systems infrastructures and regulation, to reinforce national and global health priorities by optimizing existing platforms and services, for the promotion of people-centered health and disease prevention and in order to reduce the burden on health systems;

(3) to optimize, in health systems development and reforms, the use of resources by developing health services alongside the application and use of digital technologies;

(4) to identify priority areas where normative guidance and technical assistance and advice on digital health would be beneficial, including, but not limited to, gaps in research, evidencebased standards, support to implementation and scale-up, financing and business models, content, evaluation, cost?effectiveness and sustainability, data security, ethiccal and legal issues, re-use and adaptation of existing digital health and other relevant tools;

(5) to work towards and support interoperability of digital technologies for health by, inter alia, promoting the use of international and open standards as an affordable, effective and easily adaptable solution;

(6) to disseminate, as appropriate, best practices and successful examples of digital health architecture, programmes, and services, in particular effective policy design and practical implementation, with the international community, including through WHO, bilateral, regional, cross-regional and global networks, digital platforms and hubs;

(7) to strengthen public health resilience and promote opportunities, as appropriate, through the use of digital technologies, including to improve access to, and monitoring, sharing and use of, quality data, direct citizen, health worker and government engagement, and to build capacity for rapid response to disease incidents and public health emergencies, leveraging the potential of digital information and communication technology to enable multidirectional communications, feedback loops and data-driven “adaptive management”;

(8) to build, especially through digital means, capacity for human resources for digital health, as appropriate, across both health and technology sectors, and to communicate areas of specific need to WHO in order to receive appropriate technical assistance;

(9) to improve the digital skills of all citizens, including through working with civil society to build public trust and support for digital health solutions, and to promote the application of digital health technology in the provision of, and access to, everyday health services;

(10) to develop, as appropriate, legislation and/or data protection policies around issues such as data access, sharing, consent, security, privacy, interoperability and inclusivity consistent with international human rights obligations and to communicate these on a voluntary basis to the WHO;

(11) to develop, as appropriate, and in coordination with existing and emerging regional hubs and support mechanisms, effective partnerships with stakeholders from across all sectors in the use of digital health;

All my best regards.

Isabelle Wachsmuth

Service Delivery and Safety Department

Health Systems and Innovation

World Health Organization

Geneva, Switzerland

Office: +41 (0)22 791 3175


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HIFA profile: Isabelle Wachsmuth-Huguet, MSc, MPH has been working for World Health Organization (WHO) since 2003 and has 20 years of expertise on international network promoting and implementing knowledge management solutions in both high and low income countries. She is currently Project manager, Health Systems and Innovation Cluster, Service Delivery & Safety (SDS), Emerging Issues, Quality Universal Health Coverage (QUHC), at WHO Geneva. She is also the coordinator and lead moderator of the WHO Global Francophone Forum - Health Information For All (HIFA-Fr: She is a member of the HIFA working group on Multilingualism.

hugueti AT who.inthugueti AT