GHF: Citizen Science, Big Data and the patient partner

Opening Ceremony 

Precision Global Health in the Digital Age 


The 7th edition of the Geneva Health Forum 2018 pays special tribute to the ALMA-ALTA declaration, celebrating 40 years of its existence. The GHF shifts focus on Central Asia, hosting the Russian Confederation as guest of honour. The forum continues to explore the role of precision global health in the digital age through various talks and workshops. To join the discussion, please find the timetable here.


PS2-3: Patient partner:  a self-evident truth

Rare diseases should be a public health priorities, and need relevant orphan drug legislation. The importance of patients feeling empowered is paramount, as patients play a critical role in advocation for their health, and directly shaping their future. A collaborative approach is crucial for success, working with patient organisations, advocacy, and cross-sector alliances - mirrored in the IAPO Strategy for 2018-2020.  The message is clear: patients should have the possibility to influence and control various determinants of health. However to achieve this, multiple players have to come together to reach a successful patient-partnership, including medical professionals, researchers, and of course - the patient.

PS1-3: Citizen science, open science, Fab lab, Do it yourself...the new innovation tools 

Over the last three decades there has been a great democratization of technology. The lower costs of it and its increased accessibility to the public at all levels created a revival of human creativity through the exchange of ideas and solutions thanks to technology. A new movement of global communities sharing the same topics of interests emerged to collaborate and find common solutions to challenges. This evolution is particularly interesting in terms of health innovation. For instance, hacking ultrasound technology  can be used to create an open-source platform, which is universal and affordable in order to equip two-thirds of the world population who don’t have access to diagnostic imagery.

The quality of the data may be one of the main concern expressed about citizen science because the data is not necessarily collected by scientists. However recent studies have demonstrated the potential of data collection methods through Citizen Science. Indeed, if the real needs have been correctly targeted, relevant and useful data can be gathered by citizens. Through grass root movements, citizen science projects bring another perspective and provide support to issues that governments or classical science fail to solve.

PS2-4: Big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, modelisation: examples and questions for health 
Mathematical modelling was being utilised in the case of the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, where data was collected and analysed to provide evidence for policy makers to improve maternal mortality. During this process, Big data and mathematical modelling helped to improve the performance of a healthcare system. This case studies perfectly exemplifies the role of digital technologies in global health.

See you tomorrow for day 2! 

Written by Mia Clausin, Marion GumowskiMorgane Justine GuexAlexandra EgorovaShem Reece and Nefti-Eboni Bempong.