The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a fundamental global transformation towards new digital and artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies in healthcare. Over the past year, we have seen that in response to the current global public health crisis, the use of new digital tools and AI for tasks ranging from outreach and mapping to contact tracing or diagnostics has been rapidly expanding in many countries.
However globally, more than half the world’s population already lacked access to essential health services before the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of these deprived people in Africa still cannot have basic information and knowledge that is to motivate and give them a foundation to be seeking and utilizing available health and development services for fulfilled and sustainable living. Digital tools can overcome this gap but often lack adequacy to meet the need of the communities where health services are already scarce. Barriers like lacking ICT infrastructure, weak or no education, the digital skills gap, bias on the internet colonialistic tools, languages and content that dominate the Internet, and economic hardship need to be overcome to ensure that no one is left behind.
In this panel, we will discuss the above and some of the other challenges and opportunities of democratizing the digital transformation to allow for adequate and appropriate solution finding in health and development services. Further, we will show-case two promising new initiatives from the field – the localization process of Wikipedia as well as the implementation of Audiopedia – an open-source solution fostering digital outreach especially targeting marginalized populations.
This session is hosted by RedAid Nigeria