New Digital Technologies in Global Health: Risks and Opportunities

4-5 June, 2020 | Online workshop

Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute and Center for Sustainable Healthcare Education, University of Oslo

Welcome to the discussion forum for our workshop. We aim to use this online space to continue discussion during the online meeting, and to enable us to share links, papers, videos and other resources among speakers and participants.

Please share your comments in the discussion forum for each day, and feel free to start new topics if you wish. The agenda and list of participants will be posted on this site, and we will upload presentations as these are shared by speakers. 

About this workshop

The use of digital technologies for improved health outcomes holds enormous potential as a catalyst for the attainment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

The World Health Organization Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020 – 2024 emphasizes its vision of digital health technologies ‘that allow people to manage their health more effectively, improve caregiver-patient communication and monitor the impact of policies on population health’.

 While the opportunities are real, we believe these new tools also present real risks, especially to marginalized and criminalized populations affected by HIV and tuberculosis (TB); to women and girls who must access sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) in contexts of gender inequality; and to marginalized groups vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak. We see a research gap between the human rights sector and global health, and failure to address these human rights risks threaten progress towards the SDGs. 

Our workshop will address these gaps by exploring, amongst others, the following research questions:

  • How are new digital technologies being piloted and used in COVID-19, HIV, TB, SRH and gender-based violence (GBV) interventions? What political, social and economic factors are driving their use?
  • What human rights risks are posed by the rapid scale-up of digital tools and artificial intelligence in global health – such as threats to privacy, non-discrimination, autonomy, transparency and accountability?
  • What creative new uses of digital technologies might community-based groups apply in their monitoring and advocacy work to promote access to health services?

We aim to create a space for discussion and to build new partnerships for research and advocacy in the future. The workshop puts a strong emphasis on participation, and while we will have invited speakers who will present their perspectives, there will be time for conversations and feedback to each session. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop will be held digitally through the Zoom platform. The workshop will be held as two half-day sessions, with invited speakers, including researchers, civil society activists and UN experts, briefly presenting their perspectives, followed by moderated Q&A sessions. 

Zoom link: The link will be shared here for participants. 

Any questions or concerns, please email Meg Davis (meg.davis@graduateinstitute.ch) or Tony Sandset (t.j.sandset@medisin.uio.no)