School of Information Science Launches a Collaborative Public Health Data Science Project

School of Information Science of Addis Ababa University (AAU) in collaboration with Columbia University in the USA and University of Nairobi organized a public health Data Science research project workshop at Inter Luxury Hotel (in Addis Ababa) on March 10, 2022.

Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for five years, the Project entitled “Advancing Public Health Research in Eastern Africa through Data Science Training (APHREA-DST)” aims to build capacity with a new flagship Master of Science Degree Program in Public Health Data Science (MSC-PHDS) both at Addis Ababa University and University of Nairobi.

Professor Belay Semane, a Researcher at College of Development Studies, in his remarks said that the goal of Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) is to spur new health discoveries and catalyse innovation in healthcare, public health and health research on the African continent through the application of data science.

Belay stressed that the motivation of the winning project is to improve healthcare service delivery and research activities through building well-trained data scientists that can manage complex and voluminous health and environment data across the different domains of the health sector.

He clarified that the project aims to advance the public health research in Eastern Africa by establishing new context-specific training programs in health data science by establishing an MS Graduate Degree Program in Public Health Data Science, undertaking faculty mentoring program, and conducting short-term training courses for a wide spectrum of trainees.

Addisalem Abathun (PhD), Dean at College of Natural and Computational Sciences, said, “We need to prepare the future generation for an inevitable change particularly it is imperative to enhance the Data Capturing and Processing Capability in order to make quick and informed decisions.”

Data science professionals could play a transformative role in exploiting the big data revolution, paving the way for informed decisions to address multi-pronged health challenges, Dr. Addisalem further stated.

According to Rahel Bekele (PhD), from the School of Information Science, they are part of a broader initiative entitled: ‘Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa)’ aiming at developing solutions to the continent’s most pressing public health problems through data science and positively to impact the future of data science in Africa..

It was revealed that the graduates from Public Health Data Science (MSC-PHDS) programs will play a pivotal role in healthcare data management, developing data-driven health intervention programs, advancing healthcare service delivery, policy formulation and decision-making.

Addis Ababa University top officials, faculty representatives, School of Public Health, Department of Statistics, College of Developmental Studies and students as well as various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders attended the Workshop.

Reporter: Theodros Shewangizaw

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay