Japan donates $5m to Pan-American Highway for Digital Health initiative

The WHO’s Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has shared news of a $5 million donation received from Japan for the Pan-American Highway for Digital Health Initiative, making the nation the initiative’s “first official donor”. The donation marks the joining of forces between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Government of Japan, to enhance digital health services in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Daiho Fujii, deputy vice minister of finance for international affairs in Japan, said that through the initiative, “Japan anticipates that the promotion of data sharing through digital technologies will achieve seamless data flows across borders, and as such help to overcome various challenges including on coordination in the region, thus delivering improved development outcomes. This is the epitome of bringing various development priorities into one project, including regional connectivity, digital innovation, and public health.” 

The initiative aims to promote interoperability and exchange of health information through the digitisation of clinical data, “enabling health teams to make informed decisions regarding a patient’s health”, and helping to optimise regional resources. It also supports countries in joining the WHO’s Global Digital Health Certification Network, which focuses on the secure verification of health information.

To date, PAHO and the IDB are collaborating with “more than 20 countries”, facilitating digital transformation with a focus on governance, connectivity, infrastructure, services, and “applications for health and improved human capital”.

Dr Jarbas Barbosa, director of PAHO, shared: “As we embark on a renewed digital transformation agenda for the Americas, the collaboration between PAHO and the IDB is essential to ensure cross-border interoperability. This will guarantee that every individual has access to the healthcare they need, where and when they need it, and that health systems are equipped with the necessary information to take effective actions. This initiative is more than a partnership or a regional effort; it is a foundational element for a healthier future for everyone.” 

To learn more about the Pan-American Highway for Digital Health Initiative, please click here.

For a recent deep dive, we looked at digital health transformation in Japan, to find out more about how the nation is embracing technology in the realms of health and care, covering topics including digital strategy, EHR, and published research on telemedicine and consumer attitudes in the country.