February 17, 2020

ITU/WHO Focus Group on “AI for Health” held its eighth workshop and meeting in Brazil

From January 21 to 24, 2020, the ITU/WHO Focus Group on “AI for Health” (FG-AI4H) held its eighth workshop and meeting in Brasilia, Brazil. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) hosted the event and sixteen participants from low- to middle-income countries benefitted from travel support from the Fondation Botnar.

Highlights of the workshop included keynotes from Leonardo Euler de Morais (President of National Telecommunications Agency, Brazil), Alberto Tomasi Diniz Tiefensee (Director of the Department of Monitoring and Assessment, Ministry of Health, Brazil), Maria Almiron (PAHO, Brazil), Maria Claudia Ferrari de Castro (Director of the Department of Technologies for Sustainable and Social Development, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communications, Brazil), and Prof. Thomas Wiegand (Chair of FG-AI4H and Executive Director Fraunhofer HHI).

These were followed by three sessions of presentations and lively panel discussions dedicated to applications and use cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health, regulations and country priorities, and fundamentals of AI in health. Speakers stemmed from across Latin America (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Peru) and included researchers, regulators (e.g., from the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency), and representatives of companies.

During the subsequent meeting, existing working groups (e.g., “Data and AI Solution Handling” and “Data and AI Solution Assessment Methods”) and topic groups (e.g., “Malaria Detection” and “Dental Diagnostics and Digital Dentistry”) reported demonstrable growth and progress. Dr. Andreas Reis (WHO) was nominated (and accepted) to chair a working group on “Ethics” and a draft term of references was discussed. In addition, Dr. Monique Kuglitsch (Fraunhofer HHI) was nominated (and accepted) to co-chair of the working group on “Operations”. Proposals for new topic groups (on diabetes and radiology) were considered and accepted.

Finally, the initial draft of documents related to the FG-AI4H deliverables were presented and reviewed. These deliverables include guidelines on AI4H ethical considerations, regulatory considerations, requirement specifications, software life-cycle specifications, data specifications, model training best practices, evaluation specifications, up-scaling and adoption, and applications/platforms.

The next FG-AI4H workshop/meeting will occur in Geneva, Switzerland (6-8 May 2020; in conjunction with “AI for Good”). For more information about the upcoming events and the FG-AI4H activities, please visit the FG-AI4H website .