ITU/WHO Focus Group on “AI for Health” holds its seventh workshop and meeting in India

From November 12 to 15, 2019, the ITU/WHO Focus Group on “AI for Health” (FG-AI4H) held its seventh workshop and meeting in New Delhi, India. The workshop was hosted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare together with the National Institute of Communication Finance, Department of Telecommunications, and the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. A grant from the Fondation Botnar provided travel support for participants from low to middle-income countries.

Highlights of the workshop included keynotes from Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (Chief Scientist of WHO), Prof. Balram Bhargava (Director General of ICMR, India), and Prof. Thomas Wiegand (Chair of FG-AI4H; Director of Fraunhofer HHI, Germany). These were complemented by engaging presentations and panel discussions on country perspectives, fundamentals, ethical and regulatory aspects, and innovation of AI in health. Participants represented a broad geographical region,including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Oman, and Singapore.

During the subsequent meeting, existing working and topic groups reported demonstrable progress. Furthermore, proposals for new working groups, for example the group “Ethics”, and topic groups were considered. For the latter, four were incorporated into existing topic groups. In this step, “Dengue” became a sub-topic within the “Outbreak Detection” group; “Parkinson’s Disease” was put within the “Neurological Disorders” group; and both “Avoidable Blindness” and “Red Eye” became sub-topics within the “Ophthalmology” group. Meanwhile, two new topic groups, “Dental Diagnostics” and “Falsified Medicine”, were established.

Finally, FG-AI4H deliverables were discussed. These deliverables include guidelines on FG-AI4H’s ethical and regulatory considerations, requirement specifications, as well as software life-cycle specifications. Also covered were data and evaluation specifications model training best practices, up-scaling and adoption, and applications/platforms (e.g., mobile or cloud-based applications). From January 8 to 9, 2020, a workshop  will be held at Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI in Berlin, Germany, dedicated to addressing technical aspects of these deliverables.

The next FG-AI4H workshops/meetings will occur in Brasilia, Brazil (January 21 to 24, 2020); Singapore, Singapore (March 16 to 20, 2020; to be confirmed); and Geneva, Switzerland (May 4 to 8, 2020; in conjunction with “AI for Good”). For more information about the upcoming events and the FG-AI4H activities, please visit their website .