The Launch of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health

The Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health was launched on 20 April 2018 at a Side Event to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 on ‘Global Health Security & the Digital Health Society 2030 – Innovation & Investment for One Planetary Health & Universal Health Coverage’ at the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) in London. The event was attended by His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; The Right Honourable Dr. Christopher Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister of Malta; the Secretary of Health of Uganda, Officials from the Governments of UK, Australia, New Zealand; High Commissioners; Representatives of National Medical Associations of Commonwealth Countries; and over 100 other participants representing various health professional organisations, international agencies, academia, and industry.

The picture shows from left to right: Denis Gilhooly (Executive Director, Global Health 2030 Innovation Taskforce); Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake (President, Commonwealth Medical Association), Dr. Pascale A. Allotey (Director, International Institute for Global Health, United Nations University (UNU), Malaysia) His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena; Professor Dame Sally Davis (Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government, Co-Convener, United Nations Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)) and Right Honorauble Christopher Fearne (Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister, Malta) at the launch.

Dame Davis and Professor Dissanayake co-chaired the side event and Mr. Gilhooly and Dr. Allotey co-moderated the panel discussions that followed the launch.

Issuing a special message on the occasion, His Excellency Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, of the World Health Organization (WHO), stated the following: “As you know, Universal Health Coverage is WHO’s top priority. Our aim is a world in which all people receive the high-quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration which highlighted the vital importance of primary healthcare.  Primary care remains the foundation of Universal Health Coverage.  But today we have an extra tool that we did not have 40 years ago, digital technology.  Mobile technologies and telemedicine can make a huge difference in helping to reach people in the remotest villages with medical services.  Digital technologies can also be used to detect and respond rapidly to outbreaks and other health emergencies, to train health workers, and to improve health data.  More than 120 countries including many Commonwealth states have now developed digital health strategies.  A key challenge is to make sure that new technologies are made to work for the poorest and the most vulnerable not just the rich.  In that regard, I welcome the establishment of the Commonwealth Center for Digital Health with its focus on fostering innovative technologies for health that are appropriate for low income countries.  Thank you for your commitment. WHO stands ready to work with you to harness the power of digital technologies for a healthier, safer and fairer world.”

Issuing a special message on the occasion, Her Excellency The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary General, The Commonwealth of Nations, stated the following:  “Digital health systems are an increasingly important component in the delivery of health services and care. A range of Commonwealth contributions is enabling our member countries to adopt such solutions. These facilitate more equitable access for all communities in accordance with the values and principles of our Commonwealth Charter. The proposed Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) has the potential to make new opportunities and tools available to health professionals in our member countries. Initiatives such as this exemplify the Commonwealth spirit of innovation which we encourage.”

More information about the Centre is available at

Global Health Security & the Digital Health Society 2030: Innovation & Investment for One Planetary Health & Universal Health Coverage

2nd Commonwealth Digital Health Conference and Awards – 2017

“Transforming Ideas to Digital Health Innovation”
10 to 12 October 2017 – Cinnamon Grand, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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The Colombo declaration: A plan for collaborative action

Organisations representing health professionals and policy makers of Commonwealth countries who came together last year to support the Colombo Declaration at the Commonwealth Medical Association’s triennial conference have agreed to undertake a number of activities to work towards reducing inequalities and improving health and well-being for all citizens across the Commonwealth.

This is being called the ‘Colombo Declaration: A plan for collaborative action’. The plan is not legally or financially binding but provides an important an expression of collaborative commitment towards the common goals identified last year.



In fulfilment of the relevant provisions of the constitution of the CMA and with particular reference to article 11.1 of same, notice is hereby given that there shall be election of executive officers for the association to serve for the period 2016 to 2019.
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The Commonwealth of Nations is currently made up 54 countries across all six continents of the world.

The Commonwealth Medical Association is made up of the national medical associations from at least 41 commonwealth countries.

There are indeed diverse levels of development, cultures, health services, disease patterns and a rich of knowledge and experiences.

Commonwealth doctors share a common language and medical education but many are widely separated from each other geographically and they work in different environments and are exposed to different diseases. One of the main themes of the new strategic plan of the Commonwealth is ëConnecting Peopleí and in the past the Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) has brought doctors together under the auspices of the National Medical Associations.

The CMA is now poised to deepen the interaction, knowledge, experience and voluntarism among doctors in the commonwealth as the association now strive to connect individual doctors by facilitating exchanges between doctors of different countries who visit hospitals in Commonwealth countries. READ MORE

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Past Events:

04 – 08 November 2019 – 25th Commonwealth Medical Association Triennial Conference 2019

7 – 12 October 2018 – 3rd Commonwealth Digital Health Conference and Awards, 2018

22nd May 2018 – Ministerial Luncheon Side Event to WHA 2018 – Digital Health Commonwealth – Geneva, Switzerland

20th April 2018 – Launch of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health, London, UK

14 to 16 October 2016 – 24th Triennial Conference on the theme ‘Digital Health for Health and Wellbeing’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka

10 to 12 October 2017 – 2nd Commonwealth Digital Health Conference held in Colombo

COVID Digital Solutions Platform was launched today at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Virtual Meeting
14 May 2020
@commonwealthsec @VajiraHWD @commonwdoctors

Launch of the COVID Digital Solutions Platform at the Commonwealth Health Minister Virtual Meeting - 14 May 2020


Responding to the COVID 19 pandemic with digital technologies
Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake @VajiraHWD
Past President, @commonwdoctors ; Founder, Commonwealth Digital Health Initiative and Chairman, @CWCDH_info

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Last update: 17 November 2019