September 14, 2020

Youth in the Digital Health (R)evolution: stakes, challenges, and opportunities

  • September 14, 2020

A joint GHYPI and Governing health futures 2030 Commission UN@75 dialogue, scheduled for Thursday the 17th of September 2020 at 6pm GMT +2

GHYPI – Global Health Young Professionals Initiative

Governing health futures 2030 Commission – The Lancet and Financial Times Commission


Digital transformation and innovation are rapidly changing information ecosystems and health systems design. The utilisation of digital technology, including digital media, artificial intelligence and machine learning, offer great opportunities for improved diagnosis, access to healthcare, health workforce, and health outcomes.   Yet concerns are arising about privacy, accountability, and equality of access.

Young people are the most active users of digital technology and digital media.  As such, their meaningful engagement and leadership in this discussion are essential. Today, there are currently 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 – the largest youth population in history – 90 percent of whom are living in developing countries. This cohort represents an unprecedented powerhouse of human potential and digital engagement that could transform health and sustainable development.

In parallel, the digital divide created by inequities in access to technology has deepened. Today, 360 million youth are without digital connection. The digital revolution further brings new threats for adolescent health particularly concerning online safety such as cyber-bullying, sharing of sexual images, and social contagion around self-harm; mass shootings; radicalisation; and eating disorders. Young people are even more vulnerable to these threats in light of COVID-19, worldwide school closures, and their heightening interaction with a virtual world.

This dialogue strives to look at digital governance as is co-designed and co-governed for and with youth, especially in health systems. We invite young people from around the world to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face with digital technologies. This discussion will serve as a platform to inform the design of global partnerships and governance models to promote equitable, affordable, and universal access to health for young people in today’s digital world.

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