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African data scientists gather in Cape Town at major networking conference

Submitted by jm on

The Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I-Africa) is holding its first in-person Consortium meeting from 29 October to 3 November 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. The event is taking place at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge and the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business on the V&A Waterfront.

The event has attracted over 200 scientists and stakeholders from across Africa and internationally to exchange ideas and showcase their work in data science and health.

Funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its Harnessing Data Science For Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa programme, DS-I Africa aims to develop data science, innovation and health discoveries across Africa through its current network of 19 funded projects across the continent.

Michelle Skelton, project lead for the DS-I Africa Coordinating Centre at the University of Cape Town says: ‘We are delighted to be hosting the Consortium meeting for the first time in person and engaging in robust discussion and ideas, creating fertile ground for collaboration’. DS-I Africa was launched in September 2021, and our first Consortium meeting was held online.”

The programme of the Consortium Meeting has included:

A two-day Do-athon which took place on 29 and 30 October and was designed to take advantage of the diverse expertise of the consortium to collaboratively work on projects related to data science across multiple data types and provided a platform for data science enthusiasts to learn, apply and hone their skills across the data life cycle, with training and guidance from partners, ambassadors, data crunchers and enthusiasts.

A Networking Exchange on 2 November for data science-related organizations that include health systems and information, big data repositories, industry and biotechnology, governments, data governance, community engagement and media. Similar to a scientific poster session, this informal event allows participants to get to know the DS-I Africa programme and interact with Consortium members and get some insights into their projects.

Invited guest speakers include Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, Dean of the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences; Dr Rizwana Mia, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC); Dr Roger Glass, Director of the US Fogarty International Centre and many others.

A full programme of four themed sessions and presentations on subjects such as Cross border data sharing to harness data science for health in Africa; Current state and trends for accessing health data in Africa: Best practices, standards, lessons learnt; Opportunities and challenges of application of artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) on health data in Africa; and Engaging communities beyond informed consent to harness data science for health in Africa.

To learn more about DS-I Africa please visit the website

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