Digital tools, artificial intelligence in health: a revolution is underway!


Artificial Intelligence in health: benefits, limitations and risks

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds significant promise for improving health care delivery and patient outcomes. While AI has seen widespread adoption in sectors like finance and information technology, its integration into health care has been slower. This delay is primarily due to the ethical, regulatory, and safety concerns associated with human health. Additionally, AI must gain social acceptance to be fully embraced in the health sector. Strategic research in AI is crucial for advancing health systems and digital health. This includes enhancing the collection, monitoring, and management of information, as well as improving hospital and government information systems.

AI: a few definitions

Artificial Intelligence is a field dedicated to creating intelligent computer systems which are capable of simulating human thought and behaviour.   The definition proposed by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence suggests AI encompasses both technology and study.   ‘Artificial intelligence systems are software (and possibly also hardware) systems designed by humans that, given a complex goal, act in the physical or digital dimension by perceiving their environment through data acquisition, interpreting the collected structured or unstructured data, reasoning on the knowledge, or processing the information, derived from this data and deciding the best action(s) to take to achieve the given goal. AI systems can either use symbolic rules or learn a numeric model, and they can also adapt their behaviour by analysing how the environment is affected by their previous actions.’ ‘As a scientific discipline, AI includes several approaches and techniques, such as machine learning (of which deep learning and reinforcement learning are specific examples), machine reasoning (which includes planning, scheduling, knowledge representation and reasoning, search, and optimisation), and robotics which includes control, perception, sensors, and actuators, as well as the integration of all other techniques into cyber-physical systems.’ Read more:

PACE internship: Arsène’s enriching experience

My name is Arsène Gautler Dombou Zeufack. I’m a graduate of the Pharmalys Academy of Clinical research Excellence (PACE), and I also hold a Masters’ degree in Public Health and Epidemiology. It was during my master’s studies that I first discovered the world of clinical research. I was so drawn to this career path that I decided to undertake a training course to become a clinical research professional. I began browsing different websites, searching for a comprehensive curriculum that would prepare me well for this career. What stood out to me most about the PACE course was its well-structured programme. It included a 3-month live online academic component, totalling around 300 hours of teaching – similar to the workload of a Masters’ degree. This part of the course incorporated practical skills training through real-world case studies and interactive simulations. In addition to the academic component, the PACE programme offered a 6-month internship with an organisation involved in conducting and managing clinical trials. Throughout the entire 9-month experience, each student is assigned a dedicated mentor who provides continuous support, addressing questions, concerns, and offering guidance whenever necessary. This combination of academic learning, hands-on experience, and mentorship was exactly what I needed to confidently step into the field of clinical research.

My Internship Experience on the PACE Programme

My internship experience has been both enriching and challenging. I was contracted by the Principal Investigator of the OPT-SMC Cameroon project as the Coordinator for implementing the project, working closely with the Regional Technical Group for Malaria Control in the Far North region of Cameroon. This group is the regional representative of the National Malaria Control Programme (GTR-LP EN). Read more:

Empower Your Clinical Research Team with Advanced Training Opportunities

Health sciences research encompasses basic, clinical, and applied science on human health and well-being, including the factors, prevention, detection, treatment, and management of diseases. Historically, most health sciences research has been conducted in the Global North. However, there is a growing global interest in Africa’s potential for hosting and conducting clinical trials. In recent years, several international organisations, including the African Union, WHO, and the World Bank, have advocated for increased political and economic investment in health sciences research across Africa.   From a developmental perspective, investing in health sciences research in Africa is crucial for two key

  1. Strategic Health Investments. Promoting a strong health science industry can significantly contribute to global development efforts. In 1990, the Commission on Health Research and Development highlighted that strengthening research capacity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is ‘one of the most powerful, cost-effective and sustainable means of advancing health and development’.
  2. Health, Social Welfare, and Poverty Reduction. Health sciences research can contribute to significant improvements in health and social welfare, and help reduce poverty by applying research findings domestically. The 2013 World Health Report emphasised that all nations should be both producers, users, and consumers of health sciences research. Read more: