RIYADH: As part of the programs of the Saudi Secretariat for the G20, a two-day virtual global summit for digital health was launched in Riyadh on Tuesday.
It aims to adopt new technological solutions, improve quality and accessibility, and reduce costs to counter the negative effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dr. Bandar Al-Knawy, CEO Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs and summit president, highlighted the steps taken by the Kingdom in the wake of the pandemic and the successful organization of the annual Hajj pilgrimage amid the health crisis.
WHO Chief Information Officer Bernardo Mariano Jr. reviewed the role of his organization in combating epidemics. He said the coronavirus pandemic has not only affected public health but it has also affected economic and social aspects of human life.
Mariano Jr. gave a presentation on how to deal with epidemics in the era of digital technology. He deplored that the public health sector was not as digitally advanced as other sectors such as media, finance, and education.
He urged measures to ensure the rapid transformation of the health sector along modern lines.
Panel discussions were also held on the first day of the summit covering several health-related issues and on ways to deal with diseases using modern technology.
The summit brought together leaders of health care systems, public health, digital health, academic institutions, and businesses to discuss the vital role of digital health in the fight against current and future pandemics.
It has been organized by the Ministry of National Guard’s Health Affairs Department and G20 Saudi Secretariat, in collaboration with the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships.
WEDNESDAY - DAY TWO
14:45 (BST) - Our next panel looks at how artificial intelligence has played a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic, by helping with early detection and diagnosis, monitoring of treatment, contact tracing, predicting mortality and morbidity, development of drugs and vaccines, and the prevention of the disease.
Our panellists will be discussing:
AI actual and potential contributions to the fight against pandemics
The role of AI in social control during pandemics
Constraints to AI usage to its full potential
Future strategy of AI in healthcare post COVID-19
13:30 (BST) - We're into the afternoon panel titled The Role of Wellness Technology, during which Dr. Arif M. Rana talks about where we are at with wearable technologies and their uses in healthcare and where we could end up in the future.
TUESDAY - DAY ONE
15:30 (BST) - Dr. Johkdar of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health explains how Saudi Arabia used five elements to handle the COVID-19 pandemic - and continue to handle it - adding where the Kingdom has achieved and where it can improve going forward.
14:30 (BST) - Dr. Erik Volz, senior lecturer at Imperial College's School of Medicine has discussed global predictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining how new prediction models have assisted in that.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington, talks specifically about the Middle East region. He cross-examines why Saudi Arabia's good handling of the virus has meant it did not need to go into an extended lockdown, whereas Iran's handling has led to more cases and deaths than there should have been if the virus has been handled properly.