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Using AI to contain COVID-19 and future epidemics in Malaysia and Sri Lanka with a focus on women, children, and underprivileged groups

The COVID-19 crisis is being called a “data-driven pandemic” – that is, massive amounts of information and data are being released and shared at a scale that has never been seen before. Across the world, 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. AI and data science methodologies are particularly well suited to pattern recognition, forecasting, and automation. Dashboards can help to relay risk and hotspots to policy makers, help support at-home self-testing and advice, as well as supporting care practitioners with medical diagnosis and patient triage. AI and data science research should call into consideration the needs of women and other vulnerable groups or may risk exacerbating existing inequalities.

This project from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka will use an Artificial Intelligence (AI) framework to assess and contain COVID-19 and future epidemics while mitigating the socio-economic impact to women, children, and underprivileged groups in Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Based on generated behaviour and movements, the project will develop AI to conduct contact tracing and socioeconomic impact mitigation actions in a more informed, socially conscious and responsible manner in the case of the next wave of COVID-19 infections or a different future infectious disease. The project will develop a set of recommendations that policy makers and medical practitioners can access.

This work will be carried out as part of the COVID-19 Global South Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Program, a program funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Matthew Smith
Total Funding
CA$ 846,700.00
Sri Lanka
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Sri Lanka
Project Leader
Janaka Ekanayake
University of Peradeniya



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