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In JMIR formative research

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the globe taking the lives of over 6 million individuals. Accordingly, this pandemic has caused a shift in conversations surrounding the burden of diseases worldwide, welcoming insights from multidisciplinary fields including digital health and artificial intelligence. Africa faces a heavy disease burden that exacerbates the current COVID-19 pandemic and limits the scope of public health preparedness, response, containment, and case management. Herein, we examined the potential impact of transformative digital health technologies in mitigating the global health crisis with reference to African countries. Furthermore, we proposed recommendations for scaling up digital health technologies and artificial intelligence-based platforms to tackle the transmission of the SARS-COV-2 and enable equitable vaccine access. Challenges related to the pandemic are numerous. Rapid response and management strategies i.e. contract tracing, case surveillance, diagnostic testing intensity, and most recently vaccine distribution mapping can overwhelm the healthcare delivery system that is fragile. Although challenges are vast, digital health technologies can play an essential role in achieving sustainable resilient recovery and building back better. It is plausible that African nations are better equipped to rapidly identify, diagnose, and manage infected individuals for COVID-19, other diseases, future outbreaks, and pandemics.

Olusanya Olufunto A, White Brianna, Melton Chad A, Shaban-Nejad Arash