Data and digital health
Strong information systems drive results for children.
Accurate data and strong information systems are critical to advancements in public health.
Timely, high-quality data uncover inequities in health outcomes and enable decision makers to identify children’s unmet needs. Strong information systems also help policymakers know how and where to invest in health facilities, personnel, vaccines and other supplies.
Yet, in many places – especially low-income countries and humanitarian settings – accurate data are hard to come by. Even when reliable data are available, decision makers are not always able to use them – preventing them from tracking progress on existing programmes and policies. As a result, the children most in need are often left behind.
UNICEF’s work to turn data into action
Strong information systems drive action for children.
To accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, UNICEF helps countries enhance the availability, quality and use of data. We support evidence-based programmes for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health by strengthening systems for national health management and information, civil registration and vital statistics.
We also provide guidance to leverage innovative and emerging technologies – like those related to Geographic Information Systems, new diagnostics and artificial intelligence – towards health goals.
When health workers have access to digital solutions, they are better equipped to track patients’ progress and monitor sustained treatment. Pregnancy registration, vaccine management and other tasks become less cumbersome, and health workers are better able to deliver high-quality care and respond to emergencies like disease outbreaks.
UNICEF is a global leader in digital health interventions, which use information and communication technologies to achieve health goals.
UNICEF and partners leverage digital health technologies to strengthen health systems and enhance the reach and quality of care. UNICEF has also developed an open source software, RapidPro, to support efforts to connect women and children with the health system.
Improving information and data use
UNICEF helps build the capacity of local practitioners to analyze and use data, including through dashboards and other analytical tools. We also enhance the quality of data, and – in coordination with partners – develop standards and guidelines that improve birth and death registration.
To help promote primary health care in communities, UNICEF also makes available a core set of indicators for monitoring and evaluating health outcomes.
Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to deliver digital health interventions. Public health applications include the use of satellite imagery, mobile devices and GIS software to localize population and health resources, and use that information to support more efficient planning, monitoring, and analysis of health programmes.
UNICEF supports the integration of GIS in country health data systems. This initiative focuses on developing global guidance, identifying and improving country access to "global good" data, platforms and services, and conducting in-country GIS capacity-building. In collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and the World Health Organization, UNICEF helps countries use GIS to strengthen immunization services, and to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.
Digital Health Centre of Excellence (DICE)
The multi-agency Digital Health Center of Excellence (DICE) is co-led by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide coordinated technical assistance to national governments and partners on COVID-19 vaccine delivery.
Digital health solutions for COVID-19 pandemic response and health systems resilience
As countries are operationalizing their COVID-19 pandemic response plans, including plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, digital health interventions can amplify these efforts. Countries have already made significant investments in digital health systems, and many of these platforms can be expanded to provide substantial support to the COVID-19 response and beyond.
DICE is designed to provide coordinated technical assistance to countries to support a sustainable and scalable deployment of carefully chosen digital health solutions. This includes supporting COVID-19 pandemic response plans with the focus on strengthening health systems - from planning the distribution of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to monitoring coverage of services, and communicating to reach people and reduce misinformation.
DICE is positioned as a consortium of partners, with a UNICEF-WHO co-hosted virtual secretariat. In addition, DICE works with governments to coordinate between donors and development partners, review concept notes and proposals, advise on existing digital global goods, assist in contracting with technical experts, and support skill building and expertise development through trainings and knowledge exchange.
If you would like to get involved, or learn more about the DICE, contact us at email@example.com
Learn how UNICEF harnesses the power of information and communication technologies to help countries ensure that every child survives and thrives.
Explore how UNICEF and partners use this digital tool in health programming and beyond.
This UNICEF resource serves as a human-centred guide to digital health deployments.
This resource shows decision makers and planners how to integrate geospatial data and technologies in national health programming.
This report presents findings from a 2016 global workshop on the use of Geographic Information Systems for immunization programmes.
Explore the information resources available through the GIS Working Group to support country plans for the use of GIS in the COVID-19 response.
Improving Immunisation Coverage and Equity through the Effective Use of Geospatial Technologies and Data
This report provides an overview of eight programmatic areas where geospatial data and technologies have demonstrated impact in improving immunization programs.
Leveraging Geospatial Technologies and Data to Strengthen Immunisation Programmes - Rapid guidance for investment planning
This document is directed to country planners and implementers, and provides step-by step guidance to identify the appropriate geospatial solutions to address gaps in immunization programs and provides practical tools to plan and cost their implementation.