Digital transformation can seem like a massive, daunting journey. And like many other sectors, health systems globally face a new challenge: unleashing the power of digital technology to fundamentally reinvent how care is delivered.
Tackling this challenge requires careful planning and the assessment of a country’s health infrastructure, including needs and priorities, to address the digital requirements that can make healthcare more accessible and equitable. Gavi has partnered with UNICEF and Health Enabled to develop the Digital Health Information Strategy for Routine Immunization in support of Gavi’s five-year strategy (“Gavi 5.0”) with a mission to save lives and protect people’s health by increasing the equitable and sustainable use of vaccines.
A draft Digital Health Information for Routine Immunization Roadmap will be applied in four countries through a rapid assessment process and country-level roadmap as part of Gavi‘s Full Portfolio Planning process. In Cambodia, the development of a rapid assessment was supported through dedicated capacity from UNICEF and Health Enabled with a joint mission last month. The overall objective of the mission was to provide support to the UNICEF Cambodia office in developing a rapid country assessment outlining and describing the current state of digital health for immunization in Cambodia, as well as a costed roadmap.
While UNICEF succeeded in past digital investments for immunization and health programs in Cambodia, including rapid coverage assessments, vaccine stock management and Cold Chain temperature monitoring, more room for digital health interventions exist. During the joint mission, Cambodia’s Ministry of Health shared how further investments could be used to scale both use and functionality in addressing existing challenges around data collection, use and management for immunization programs. This also facilitated the operationalization of a recently developed national digital strategy. Taking the learnings from digital solutions deployed during the COVID-19 response - particularly KhmerVacc (Cambodia’s mobile app for COVID-19 vaccination registration) - the country is interested in digitizing paper reporting systems and introducing data systems for UNICEF’s Expanded Program on Immunization and Primary Health Care. The National Immunization Program led the consultation with partners and identified 10 digital solutions for the Immunization roadmap. This roadmap will help the Government of Cambodia to allocate and raise the funds for the full implementation going forward.
Digital Health initiatives rely on having the right information in the right place at the right time. The mission provided critical information to identify requirements and design needs for routine immunization and inform the GAVI Digital Health Investment roadmap. To use technology effectively, UNICEF, GAVI and Health Enabled will continue to strive toward providing long-term and system-wide initiatives to deliver more powerful healthcare.