Estonia's ex-president to lead WHO committee work group on IT solutions

  • 2020-08-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia's former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves has joined the World Health Organization's committee on health and sustainable development in which he is to lead a work group on IT solutions, Postimees reports.

The pan-European committee aims to overhaul the health care policy and its strategies while factoring in the coronavirus pandemic. The committee is to assess health care systems' response to the pandemic and make recommendations for reforms and investments improving said systems' capability.

Ilves' adviser Urve Eslas told Postimees that the former head of state has been invited to lead the committee's work group on developing IT solutions and strategies to pandemic-related problems.

Eslas noted that Ilves' long-term experience as the spokesman for digital solutions was the reason why WHO proposed he should lead the work group. Ilves has previously led the EU work group on e-health, served as chairman of the steering committee of the European Cloud Partnership and co-chair of the advisory panel for the World Bank 2016 world development report "Digital Dividends". In addition, he has also been the chair of World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security.

The main problems currently arise from the absence of a coronavirus vaccine.

"All other activities only serve the objective of withstanding the pandemic until an effective vaccine reaches the market. IT solutions, however, help us better prepare for similar occasions in the future," Eslas said.

The WHO pan-European commission on health and sustainable development is chaired by former prime minister of Italy and former European commissioner Mario Monti. The committee's scientific coordinator is Elias Mossialos, former minister of state of Greece and head of the department of health policy at the London School of Economics. Members of the committee include former Finnish president Tarja Halonen, health experts and several other former heads of state. The committee, which is to convene for the first time on Aug. 26, aims to complete its final report by September 2021.