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WHO launches prototype digital health promoter

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a digital health promoter prototype with enhanced empathetic response, powered by generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The world body, which announced the launch in a statement, added that the move was in preparation of the 2024 World Health Day (WHD), annually marked on April 7 to draw attention to specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme of the global observance day for this year is “My Health, My Right.”

The organisation stated that the Smart AI Resource Assistant known as S.A.R.A.H or Sarah, would provide information across major health topics, including healthy habits and mental health, to help people to optimise their health and well-being.

It added that the digital health promoter would also provide additional tool for people to realise their rights to health wherever they are, engaging users 24 hours a day in eight languages on multiple health topics, on any device.

“Sarah has the ability to support people in developing better understanding of risk factors for some of the leading causes of death in the world, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

“It can help people access up-to-date information on quitting tobacco, being active, eating healthy diet, and de-stressing, among other things.”

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, who said that “the future of health is digital,” reiterated the global body’s resolve to support countries to harness the power of digital technologies for health.

He said “S.A.R.A.H. gives us a glimpse of how Artificial Intelligence could be used in future to improve access to health information in a more interactive way.

“I call on the research community to help us continue to explore how this technology could narrow inequities and help people access up-to-date, reliable health information.”

According to him, S.A.R.A.H. is powered by generative AI, rather than pre-set algorithm or script, helping to provide more accurate responses in real-time.

He explained that “the technology is supported by Soul Machines Biological AI, engaging in dynamic personalised conversations at scale that more accurately mirror human interactions and provide nuanced, empathetic responses to users in a judgment-free environment.”

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