In the last decade, there has been an unprecedented shift in demand for health data and a recognition of the value of data to improve health outcomes for people in low- and middle-income countries. To meet this demand, developing countries began to advance and improve their national data systems. Increasingly, data previously locked in paper systems are now available electronically for distribution and analysis at all levels, a growing body of digital health global public goods is available, and human capacity in low- and middle- income countries to manage digital tools allows countries to think more ambitiously about how to utilize data.
These advances are even more remarkable given the high degree of fragmentation, duplication, and lack of interoperability that characterize many developing country digital health systems. We are now at an inflection point where significant advances to enable improved health, economic and gender equity, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals will require greater coordination among donors that fund digital systems.
It is essential and urgent for donors to align their investments to country digital health strategies that are in support of national health strategies. This is required to enable countries to pursue an integrated approach to strengthening health systems, to enhance and extend the delivery of quality health services, and to improve data (and the capacity to use it) for improved health outcomes.