The Secretary General of the Commonwealth The Right Honourable Baroness Patricia Scotland QC met the Newly Elected President of the Commonwealth Medical Association, Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake at the Commonwealth Secretariat at the Marlborough House in London on 24 March 2017. She thanked Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Medical Association, and the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka for hosting the highly successful 24th Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Medical Association in Sri Lankan in October 2016 and pledged her support to take forward the Colombo Declaration that was adopted at the conference by the Commonwealth Health Professionals Alliance consisting of commonwealth associations representing doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals.

Baroness Scotland praised the Government of Sri Lanka for supporting the initiative to set up a Commonwealth Institute for Digital Health in Colombo that was proposed by the Commonwealth Medical Association as a health care innovation initiative with the backing of two ministries – Ministry of Health and Ministry of Science, Technology and Research. In wide ranging discussions that followed with the participation of Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth and the former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations; Dr. Joanna Nurse, the Head of the Health and Education Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat; Mr. Anoop Singh, the Acting Chairperson of the Commonwealth Institute for Infrastructure Development; and Prof. Sir Michael Marmot, Immediate Past President of the World Medical Association wide ranging discussions were held on how the proposed Institute could be supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat and how it could serve as an training, research and innovation hub for the Commonwealth brining about transformative change across health systems in the commonwealth.

The Institute would be launched at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting on 21 May 2017 in Geneva by Honourable Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine and Honourable Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research. This would be followed by a high level launch of the Institute in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 by His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka.

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