The Rockefeller Foundation has teamed up with WHO, UNICEF and other government organisations to deliver the $100m Precision Public Health Initiative based on Data Science to save at least six million lives of children and women across 10 countries by 2030.
The initiative is powered by innovative digital technologies such as predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These Data Science technologies serve as the key decision-making tools for enabling the frontline community health workers in their quest to save millions of lives in the coming years.
The Rockefeller Foundation project will debut its first phase in Uganda and India starting this year until 2022. It will later be expanded to eight more countries by 2030 in regions with a high incidence of maternal mortality and those which can sustain the use of modern digital tools including mobile phones and the internet.
In other words, the initiative will potentially expand across countries in East and Southern Africa, following its initial launch on 25 September. The $100m Data Science project aims to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases such as HIV transmission, polio and yellow fever from pregnant women to their new-born babies.
For instance, it assists health workers in supporting pregnant women while bringing health facilities closer to where people reside to increase the number of people delivering in hospitals or assisted by a doctor or a nurse.
According to SciDev.Net, here is what Manisha Bhinge, associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Initiative, says:
“Our biggest aim is to end mortality due to preventable diseases such as *malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia in young children, infectious disease outbreaks and ensure access to critical primary healthcare services. We know that community-based interventions are critical.”
Bhinge tells Scidev.Net that empowering communities with easy access to these technologies will ensure high-quality healthcare at affordable prices.
She also adds that early detection of disease outbreaks will help the community to avert disastrous consequences like shortage of medical supplies as in the case of the Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Recent WHO report suggests that around 295,000 women died from pregnancy and childbirth in 2017 wherein 94% of the deaths were attributed to low-resource regions.
It is learnt that the developing countries are largely missing out on the data science front as they are unable to effectively analyse data and leverage the available resources for a desirable outcome. Also, sanitation issues could be predicted and effectively mitigated with the use of data analytics to further prevent outbreaks of cholera and diarrhea.
Uganda’s health minister, Jane Aceng, had this to say in his recent statement to Scidev.Net:
“Data can help us see who is in the greatest need and hold ourselves accountable for meeting those needs. We are looking forward to working with global partners, engaging technology companies, and translating innovations into lives saved and improved.”
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage advances in data science and technology that have enriched the lives of society’s most privileged, and transform health for those left behind around the world,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.
“Working together, we can close the health inequity gap by driving innovation and investment to save millions of lives,” he adds.
The integration and analysis of contrasting data will help decentralised decision-making and real-time monitoring of primary and community health systems to accelerate the impact of interventions on maternal and child health outcomes.
Data is a powerful tool that can help us make life-saving decisions and prevent epidemics before they happen,” said Ms. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.
“Timely, reliable, and disaggregated data, underpinned by a commitment to universal health coverage, can ensure that vulnerable women, children, and young people get the care they need at the right place and the right time,” she adds.