As CIO of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Bernardo Mariano is\u00a0responsible for the IT strategy at a United Nations\u00a0agency that aims to attain\u00a0the highest possible level of health for all citizens in its 194 member states.\nHis key objectives are to deliver the WHO's global strategy on digital health and to\u00a0provide guidelines to countries on how to navigate their digital transformation journeys.\n"We will do that by bringing together all the national regulatory agencies from the countries that have them and then start discussing issues such as AI regulation and sharing our experiences,"\u00a0Mariano tells CIO UK from the AI Everything conference in Dubai.\n"Some agencies have already implemented digital strategies and others have not, so we have to cross-fertilise ideas among the different regulatory agencies to make sure that they all are able to deal with and handle the added power but also maintain the quality of the healthcare existing ecosystem."\nTo help its member states to achieve this, the\u00a0WHO recently released its\u00a0first recommendations for digital health tech use. They outline\u00a0how\u00a0nations can use tech\u00a0to\u00a0improve the health of citizens by providing proper training, securing\u00a0data and\u00a0coordinating systems with other digital health resources, while taking into account infrastructural limitations.\nRead next: Health Secretary Matt Hancock champions the role of CIO\nThe WHO\u00a0has also developed the Digital Health Atlas, an open-source web platform designed to\u00a0help all global stakeholders\u00a0coordinate digital health activities by offering the\u00a0information\u00a0they need\u00a0to improve their planning, coordination and use of digital health information systems for health.\nThese initiatives aim to balance are designed to reap the benefits of new technologies while minimising the risks of them being misused.\n"Instead of being risk-averse, we need to allow governments to design policies that will not block them but would also not create a situation such as that in the digital transformations in the media sector, where the lack of regulation has created sicknesses and situations that are impacting health," says Mariano.\n"The anti-vaccine movement, for instance, has led to the resurgence of measles.\u00a0So how we could strike the right balance to allow and promote and use the evolution and development of digital technologies for health, but even more importantly, to really realise positive health outcomes?"\nGlobal goals\nAs a global body that represents\u00a0194 nations, the WHO has\u00a0to support an enormous variety of complex needs. In the world of digital healthcare, the\u00a0most developed countries aren't always the most mature.\n"You would expect the digital transformation of countries such as US or UK to be at the forefront, but one of the countries that are leading on digital transformation is Estonia," says Mariano.\u00a0"They have leapfrogged many countries through digital transformation - not only in the healthcare sector, but also in many other sectors of the country."\nTo serve the different needs of nations, the WHO\u00a0creates\u00a0a country plan to implement the healthcare strategy.\n"In Estonia, the country might need a strategy to address their electronic health record. They might need interoperability of health records and systems,"\u00a0Mariano explains.\u00a0"For each country, the implementation of the strategy will need to take into consideration the country's needs, the maturity of the technology, and of course, it has to be people-centric."\nRead next: NHS Trust ICT Director will harness tech to help most vulnerable\nThe WHO mostly\u00a0works with governments to develop these strategies, but Mariano admits that it has a lot to learn from the private sector, which is what led him to travel from the\u00a0WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to the\u00a0AI Everything conference in Dubai.\n"We want to work with the private sector to really help develop guidelines and policies that would allow the whole community or the whole ecosystem to realise the full benefits of digital health," he says.\n"The WHO and its member states countries are catching up with the pace, but the private sector is ahead of the public sector and governments. In addition to interacting, there's also a learning process that goes both ways to make sure that we all deliver the right balance of regulations, and that together we can deliver the best health outcomes."\nMariano\u00a0recently added another duty to his role, when the WHO announced the establishment of a digital health department, which Mariano will help to set up.\nAI is one of the key technologies that\u00a0the department will\u00a0explore. Mariano is working with the WHO member states to ensure that AI aligns with their national needs, and with policymakers to develop legislation that maximises the benefits of AI for citizens while protecting the data and human rights.\n"AI will certainly change that in a way that will require not only good governance of the technology, but also the reskilling or capacity building of the healthcare practitioner, as well as education of the public in terms of their data," he says.