About this Research Topic
In the context of healthcare, the WHO reported that vaccine coverage in 2020 dropped to levels unseen in over 25 years (1). Covid-19-related disruptions to essential and life-saving health service provisions in many, including high-income, countries could result in sharp rise in disease burden worldwide due to increases in other infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases (2). For example, more than half of the reporting countries reported moderate-to-severe disruptions or a total suspension of immunization services during 2020 leaving the real possibility of outbreaks of preventable diseases in multiple countries. A spike in illness and deaths from other communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease may also be expected due to such disruptions, for example, delayed diagnosis and poor management of existing conditions.
The unprecedentedly rapid and successful development and, albeit uneven, rollouts of multiple safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines coupled with an increasing knowledgebase of viable treatment options bring new hope to an increasingly effective control of the pandemic this year. The world now faces a question on how we can start building back progress towards meeting these Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and to ensure that these setbacks do not become permanent.
In this Research Topic, we will be focusing on SDG Goal 3 ‘Good Health and Well-Being’, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. We will be exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and digital innovations to help stamp development regression and reignite global progress towards SDG Goal 3. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of AI in diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the designing of health interventions, and modelling and predicting epidemics and chronic diseases. This Research Topic will be a timely contribution to the international efforts in mitigating the devastating impact of Covid-19 on global health.
Exemplars and advances along this theme deserve to be widely disseminated to the research and policy communities at large who are in urgent need to reverse the negative trends over numerous development indicators, with focus on the SDG 3 target indicators. Research in AI and digital solutions relating to the following applications are welcomed:
• Use of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) in health applications including improving or restoring essential health service and product delivery and achieving universal health coverage;
• AI in medical devices and wearables in early detection of diseases;
• The role of Big Data in diagnosis and treatment of diseases as well as for early warning of management of national and global health risks;
• Supporting clinical decision-making including triaging in low-resource settings;
• The use of robotics in clinical treatment.
1. World Health Organization. WHO and UNICEF warn of a decline in vaccinations during COVID-19. July 15, 2020 2020 (accessed Mar 10 2021).
2. United Nations. SDG3 - Good Health and Well-Being. 2021. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-03/ (accessed Mar 10 2021).
Keywords: sustainable development goals, SDG 3, AI, digital solutions, digital public health, artificial intelligence, big data
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