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2018 Skills Building Program on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Decision Science in Health and Nutrition (Bucharest 10-14 September, Bangkok 24-28 September, Pretoria 1-5 October)

September 10-October 05, 2018



The World Bank is working to improve the use of data in decision-making and implementation, and to apply big data and cognitive analytical approaches to address complex problems in health and development. The World Bank is focused on ensuring that it boosts skills, brokers data arrangements, and builds capacity for the use of advanced analytics to improve development.

In collaboration with several Silicon Valley companies interested in ‘Artificial Intelligence for Good,’ the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNDP, the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa,  the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI), the Global Health Costing Consortium (GHCC), and several academic institutions, the World Bank has developed a Skills Building Program to increase capacity in big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the use of decision science models in health (including HIV, TB and NCDs) and nutrition.

In this regard, three 5-day skills building programs were held in 2018 in the following locations:

10 – 14 September 2018 in Bucharest, Romania
24 – 28 September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand
1 – 5 October 2018 in Pretoria/Tshwane, South Africa


Skills Building Course Objectives

·       Create awareness of the need for analytics to improve decision and delivery choices in health and development

·       Introduce big data and cognitive analytics for transforming health and development systems

·       Provide training on analytical optimization tools that can answer pertinent policy and implementation questions for specific policy sectors

·       Discuss data availability and syntheses for use in analytical frameworks

·       Discuss the interpretation and use of analytical results, including case studies where analytics has been useful in improving outcomes.

·       Provide practical experience in using decision science tools (participants chose one of these tracks) to attend on days 3 to 5 of the course:


Skills Building Program Overview

The first 2 days of the 2018 Skills Building Training Program were structured around plenary sessions that provided strong foundations for the specialist breakaway skills building tracks.

On Day 1 the focus was on understanding the principles of data and decision science delivery and how they relate to the health sector.

On Day 2 we shifted our focus to looking more closely at Big Data Analytics and Data Science.

From Day 3 to 5, participants were assigned to a skills building track which that they registered for.

The six skills building training tracks on offer were:

  1. Big Data Analytics for Improved Health Outcomes (Big Data)
  2. Implementation Cascades Diagnostics and Optimization (HSP Tool for UHC)
  3. Health Services Prioritization (HSP) Tool for improved Universal Health Coverage (Cascades)
  4. Improved HIV allocative efficiency using Optima HIV (Optima HIV)
  5. Improved TB allocative efficiency using Optima TB (Optima TB)
  6.  Improved Nutrition Allocative Efficiency through Optima Nutrition (Optima Nutrition)


MATERIALS FROM TRAININGS: click on >> to see all training tracks