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Health in the Digital Age - A New Era for Global Health?

MMS Symposium, 4 November 2020

Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Digitalisation affects us all. New technologies, including telemedicine, web-based diagnosis tools, digital data collection and artificial intelligence (AI), are having various impacts on health and health systems and will bring lasting change to the global health landscape.

Health in the Digital Age - A New Era for Global Health?

Community Health Worker using an mhealth app in Malawi. Photo © Christoph Pimmer


The speed and scale of these changes are increasing – which means it is also necessary to assess and adjust the agility, responsiveness and scope of global health cooperation and governance mechanisms. Given the changing circumstances, we must develop new ways to cooperate, collaborate and reach a consensus. The successful exploitation of opportunities introduced by digitalisation is being shadowed by reports of human rights abuses, injustices and unintended consequences.

The unreflecting implementation of digital health technologies has the potential to deepen power imbalances and inequalities in health, especially within countries and between low and high-income countries. Discussing issues connected to big data, data ownership, data hosting, privacy and other ethical questions is of crucial importance to ensure that digital technologies are of maximum benefit to the health of everyone.

This year, the MMS Symposium will focus on:

  • Understanding: how digitalisation is influencing health, health systems and global health.
  • Learning: how digital health strategies can be implemented in a sensitive and responsible way to avoid exacerbating already existing inequities.
  • Debate and Exchange: the importance of bringing different stakeholders together when implementing and planning digital health projects and programmes.


Coronavirus: Safety Measures regarding Combating Covid-19 are in place. The venue ensures social distancing, hand sanitizers are distributed across the hall and all participants are asked to wear a mask during the entire day. Your health is our health! We look forward to fruitful discussions and a lively exchange. See our safety measures in details here.


Programme (PDF)

 9.00am Registration and Coffee



Welcome Speech, by René Staeheli, FAIRMED, President of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland 

Part 1: Health in a Digital Age – Is Universal Health Coverage within reach? 



“Welcome Message” by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis Federal Department of Foreign Affairs



Health in a Digital Age - Risks & Opportunities Towards 2030 by Stefan Germann (Fondation Botnar)




Health in a Digital Age – Is Universal Health Coverage within Reach? By Ilona Kickbusch [tbc]


 Q&A with Ilona Kickbusch and Stefan Germann


Coffee Break



BAR TALK: Reimagining Global Health through Artificial Intelligence: The Roadmap to AI Maturity by Lucy Setian (Novartis Foundation) and Carine Weiss, (MMS) 


Workshop A

Digital Health in International Cooperation: a Transnational Framework Martin Leschhorn, (MMS)

Workshop B

What does it Take to Develop an App? Karin Stierlin, (taboobreaker Association)

Workshop C

Social Media in Global Health: Promise or Peril? Christoph Pimmer, (FHNW)



Part 2: Health in a Digital Age – Leaving No One Behind

14.00 Reaching Young People and Breaking Stigma through Youth-led Digital Health Content by Neira Budiono, (Young Experts: #Tech4Health) [via Zoom]


From Web 2.0 to Intelligent Assistants: The Power of Digital Conversations in Global Health by Christoph Pimmer, (FHNW)



Digital Inclusion: Designing Technologies with Accessibility in Mind by Benjamin Dard, World Blind Union [via Zoom]

Coffee Break


How to Design and Use Ethical Technologies for Health by Cansu Canca, AI Ethics Lab (tbc) [via Zoom]



Panel Discussion: Innovation as a Challenge to Regulation. What are the Political Requirements so that Digital Technologies can Truly Contribute to  Health For All
16.30 Closing Remarks

Moderated by Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH, Carine Weiss & Martin Leschhorn Strebel, MMS

The symposium is part of a long-term cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 




Date and Time of the MMS Symposium

4 November 2020; 9:00 am – 4:30 pm


Volkshaus Basel, Unionssaal, Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel
Finding your way to the conference


Released online shortly.


Translations into German and English provided.

Further Information

Carine Weiss, Netzwork Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)61 383 18 12


  • Standard Fee: CHF 170
  • MMS Members: CHF 80
  • Students: CHF 80


Registered participants who cancel less than 24 hours before the start of the conference must pay the full amount.

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