COVID-19: Artificial Intelligence to Back Up Data-Driven Response in Africa

The epicentre of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe and the United States. But it has not spared Africa. "It will victimise particularly communities living in poverty who have no protection and no access to health care," says Prof. Dr. Mirjam van Reisen who chairs 'Computing for Society' at the Leiden University.

The public research university in the Netherlands has joined universities in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe in the Virus Outbreak Data Africa Network (VODAN) FAIR Data initiative.

Computer scientists across the continent collaborate to establish connected data to strengthen analytics to fight COVID-19. "With this project we can analyse the data to understand where and how the virus moves and assist governments to reach out to protect such communities," adds Van Reisen. She believes the VODAN FAIR Data initiative is a crucial and necessary condition for other data initiatives.

FAIR stands for human and machine-readable digital data objects that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Accessibility is fully compliant with regulatory and governance frameworks, including personal data protection and ethical considerations based on the principle to Do no Harm.


Reinhard Jacobsen 27 March 2020