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Using artificial intelligence to inform public health responses to COVID-19 in Colombia

The COVID-19 pandemic is having devastating effects in Colombia, which has experienced over 666,000 observed cases and 21,000 deaths as of early September 2020. The COVID-19 crisis is being called a “data-driven pandemic” because massive amounts of information and data are being released and shared at an unprecedented scale. Globally, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science research is showing promise for early COVID detection, timely communications with the public, new diagnostic tools, and informed policy and public health responses that can be automated, implemented, and scaled affordably.

This project is a five-pronged interdisciplinary research endeavour, based on AI methods and data science, aimed at developing, implementing, and communicating evidence for COVID-19-related challenges, responses, and recovery in Colombia. The aim is to develop long-term, real-time, gender-specific, and locally relevant mathematical models that will shed light on the possible impact, trajectories, geographical spread, and uncertainties of disease progression, in addition to risk assessment based on socio-demographic, behavioural, and medical history variables. The project will also focus on estimating the effect of COVID-19 on other diseases, particularly on disease incidence, the resurgence of other infectious diseases, changes in chronic disease frequency and severity, gender disparities, and mental health.

The project also intends to analyze popular social networks to identify health-related trending interest for vulnerable groups or populations, common reactions to policies and events of social importance, and critical users that act as “super spreaders” for information and misinformation. Finally, the research aims to design communication strategies to confront mis- and dis-information around COVID-19 that are tailored to different groups according to age, gender and regional and socioeconomic characteristics.

This work will be carried out as part of the COVID-19 Global South Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Program, funded by IDRC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Alejandra Vargas Garcia
Total Funding
CA$ 1,211,000.00
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Project Leader
Catalina González-Uribe
Universidad de los Andes