Riyadh Hosts Virtual Global Digital Health Summit
A two-day virtual Global Digital Health Summit was launched in Riyadh recently as part of the Saudi Secretariat for the G20 programs. It was organized by the G20 Saudi Secretariat and the Ministry of National Guard’s Department of Health Affairs in collaboration with the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships. It aimed to improve quality and accessibility, adopt new technological solutions, and cut costs to counter the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On day one of the summit, panel discussions were held on several health-related topics and on how to deal with diseases with the help of modern technologies. The summit brought together leaders from healthcare systems, public health, digital health, academic institutions, and businesses to discuss the vital role that digital health plays in combating pandemics.
In the summit, steps the Kingdom has taken to combat the pandemic and the organization of the annual Hajj pilgrimage successfully amid the health crisis were highlighted. The Chief Information Officer of World Health Organization, Bernardo Mariano Jr., reviewed WHO’s role in dealing with the pandemic. He stressed the critical role of digital technology in the eradication of epidemics. He urged for concerted efforts in bringing the health sector at par with other sectors in terms of modernization with new technologies, which would help in its rapid transformation.
During the summit, global predictions about the COVID-19 pandemic and how new prediction models helped were discussed. Also, Saudi Arabia’s excellent handling of the epidemic was lauded, citing that the country did not have to go for extended periods of lockdown. How Saudi Arabia used five elements to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and continues doing so was underlined.
In a panel discussion entitled ‘The Role of Wellness Technology’, wearable technologies and their uses in healthcare were shed light on. In another panel that highlighted how healthcare systems provided care when pandemics force remote contacts, the crucial role of telehealth in providing care and reducing infection spread were discussed.
One panel discussed how artificial intelligence was playing a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic by way of facilitating early detection and diagnosis, treatment monitoring, contact tracking, mortality and morbidity prediction, drug and vaccine development, and disease prevention.
The virtual conference touched upon several burning issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and future healthcare strategies that countries can adopt utilizing technology to its fullest potential.