Royal Society co-hosted round-table for the G7 on data for health emergencies

The Royal Society co-hosted a round-table along with The Trinity Challenge (TTC) and The International Digital Health and AI Research Collaborative (I-DAIR), to build on the S7 (the Science Academies of the G7) statement to the G7 on improving safe data access and use for health emergencies. This summary focusses on delivery priorities, key stakeholders, and the building blocks required for a two year implementation programme. […]


Seize the moment for a global pandemic surveillance and response scheme

No more pandemics – this is the ambitious goal set by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, whose report reviews the international community’s response to covid-19 and identifies lessons learned. Covid-19 has shown that our lack of globally accurate, real-time data on outbreaks is a matter of life and death. A leading group of scientists and experts, from every part of the world, must come together urgently to create a new, neutral, and trusted digital system that can revolutionize how data is gathered and used globally. […]

etting governance right for an international collaborative on digital health

Getting Governance right for an international collaborative on Digital Health

Health is our capstone piece in I-DAIR, a reminder that multilateralism exists for a global purpose, and digital technology is not an escape from our analogue world but a means to addressing its challenges. This integrated view of governance and impact, we hope, will help us achieve our goals, including interoperability and collaborative use of data, investments into digital infrastructures and human capacity, and developing the public goods—tools, models, benchmarks and governance insights—needed to democratise the use of emerging digital technologies […]

high tech pandemic surveillance and response scheme

The case for a high-tech pandemic surveillance and response scheme

When the World Health Assembly (WHA) convened in May 2020, the world was struggling to respond to one of the worst health crises in recent history. A year later, the COVID-19 pandemic is still infecting hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands a day. Could the international community have prevented the outbreak of a new respiratory infection in Wuhan from becoming a global disaster, which has battered health systems and pushed millions into poverty? To answer this question, the WHA asked the Director-General […]

digital ecosystem

AI governance for a global digital ecosystem

AI governance is like one of those mythical creatures that everyone speaks of but which no one has seen. Sometimes, it is reduced to a list of shared principles such as transparency, non-discrimination, and sustainability; at other times, it is confated with specifc mechanisms for certifcation of algorithmic solutions or ways to protect the privacy of personal data. We suggest a conceptual and normative approach to AI governance in the context of a global digital public goods ecosystem to enable progress on the UN Sustainable […]

Reimagining Global Health through AI In 2016

Reimagining Global Health through AI

In 2016, the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission launched its first Working Group on Digital and AI in Health, resulting in a Call for Government Leadership and Intersectoral Collaboration or Digital Health. In 2018, it issued its second report, The Promise of Digital Health : Addressing Noncommunicable Diseases to Accelerate Universal Health Coverage in LMICs, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. These reports were a call to action for governments, policymakers, and other stakeholders to build and […]

Realising the promise of digitally-enbled heath

Realising the promise of digitally-enabled health

The first digital medical tool, the Computed Axial Tomography or CT scan, was invented nearly five decades ago in 1972. It combined slices of two-dimensional images digitally into a three-dimensional visualisation of the body, which was earlier possible only post mortem. This was a boon to diagnosticians in a number of specialties and has saved countless lives. Coincidentally, digital technologies entered a new era around the same time with the invention of the TCP/IP protocols over 1973-74. The network of computers constituting the Internet […]

Digital health as an enabler of human rights

Digital health as an enabler of human rights

A distinction is often made in human rights between civil and political rights on the one hand and social, economic and cultural rights on the other. Indeed, two of the core covenants on human rights embody this distinction. In recent years, there has been a return to the unified and integrated approach of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Notions such as human dignity and wellbeing that we intuitively grasp across cultures underpin this approach. Digital technologies are unprecedented in their reach and applicability across domains of human activity. […] ‍

A multidimensional risk dashboard for COVID-19

Numerous digital health solutions and dashboards have emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several of them operate in extremely data scarce environments and fail to consider the realities of the systems they are embedded in, prompting the need for a new data imagination. This ‘stories and statistics’ report explores the value of synthesising qualitative and quantitative data in digital-health dashboarding for COVID and other emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). It proposes a framework for creating a multidimensional […] ‍