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Policy Briefs

Build Digital Public Goods for Health: A Private and Public Sector Global Initiative

Task Force: Development and Economic Prosperity

Authors: Neha Khanna, Casper Sonesson, Shayak Sengupta, Daniel Suryadarma


COVID-19 exposed the disparities in basic healthcare coverage and a human’s ability to thrive. While it affects everyone on the planet, the disparity across countries is stark due to access to vaccines, basic health systems, and increasingly, data. In fact, the Lancet FT Commission recognized digital technology as “a social determinant of health”. Examining social determinants of health makes apparent that the uneven distribution of and access to technology and data can make a significant difference to health outcomes. Government’s’ ability to implement a whole of society approach when designing digital infrastructures, systems, and services, protecting and using the data from those systems to make health decisions will be a key factor in addressing global inequity. Building on the G7 Patient Access to Health Records and the G20 Ministers Declaration on the role of Digital Health in the Pandemic Response, to address the key challenges facing health and society, we must make the necessary investment in reusable digital infrastructure and services. We must do it in a way that builds the local capabilities to ensure technology tools empower people, strengthen systems, and minimise potential harms.