Published On: 31 August 2023

Hot off the press! If you caught our recent announcement, you know that THINK has secured a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We’re ecstatic to share that we were one of just 50 winners among a staggering 1 300 applications globally, all responding to the Grand Challenges on the Equitable use of AI.

Leading the charge on this cutting-edge project, titled “Unlocking the Power of Data,” are Suzanne Staples (PI), Abraham Mlasa (Data Analyst), Kristina Wallengren (Technical Lead), Fanele Msimango (Research Assistant), and Robyn Allie (Project Coordinator). Our stalwart TB LON team, featuring Riyadh, Lynette, Louisa, Zandile, and Thomas, are also chipping in, while also learning to harness the transformative possibilities of AI.

So, what’s the big idea? In a nutshell, we’re exploring the power of AI to make data analysis and interpretation of routine programme data available to anyone in the healthcare cascade who needs it. Our ultimate goal is to extend the capacity of AI in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), bridge the data gap in decision-making, and, in turn, improve health programmes, optimise resource allocation, and most importantly, save lives!

Our colleagues at the Department of Health are as excited as we are, and looking forward to the release of the AI framework and cheat sheets for data analysis and interpretation that we are working on. Kristina will be presenting our results at the Bill & Melinda Gates Conference in Dakar, Senegal, in October.

Although this is a short, three-month demonstration project, we’re laying the groundwork for a monumental transformation in Africa, where we are applying AI in Public Health. To support this shift we are planning THINK’s Digital Discovery Hub. This will be an AI / Computer Lab dedicated to taking this initiative to the next level, where we are planning to offer hybrid training sessions on AI that cater to programme and data managers / coordinators in South Africa and the broader sub-Saharan region.

What this space for more exciting updates!