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The Maastricht Diplomat

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[AP] Developing countries demand infrastructure development at WHO data security talks

Developing countries on Thursday stressed the importance of building digital health infrastructure, at a World Health Organization (WHO) summit over data security. 

On the first of four days of debates, developing countries said developing digital health infrastructure was needed before trying to implement data security legislation, as many disparities in access to digital health technologies persist.

Fault lines in the discussion emerged after Japan’s call for concrete solutions and actions, especially to implement legislation on privacy and security of health data.

The Netherlands emphasized that not every country has access to the infrastructure needed, meaning that those countries cannot fully benefit from the advantages digital health can offer. 

Honduras, Haiti, and Nigeria agreed with the Dutch representative’s observation that infrastructure had to be established first. The representative for Nigeria called for ways to fund more accessible infrastructure, while Haiti recalled the recent earthquakes it endured to explain how their infrastructure needs to be built upon.

Estonia strongly suggested allocating more funding to education in order to let young people help build up the infrastructure needed and solve issues related to access to digital health technologies.

The Netherlands further emphasized its willingness to collaborate with other countries in order to make digital health technologies more accessible, but asked countries in need to state their needs explicitly, in order to best allocate the resources they can share.

All member states acknowledged the great potential of digital health, while also recognizing the persisting disparities in access to digital health technologies. 

They also underlined the need for global collaboration in addressing those challenges, calling for countries with the most expertise to share their knowledge in order to find adequate solutions. 

Observers said the member states showed willingness to work together over the course of the next few days to find common ground on the matter.

EuroMUN Committee: World Health Organization (WHO)


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