series event

Digital health in times of COVID-19: what promises and pitfalls do technological advances bring for global health?

Digital health in times of Covid-19

The LSHTM-Charité Global Health Lecture Series brings together leading scientists from the UK, Germany and further afield to present cutting-edge research on pressing global health issues and to discuss the implications of their work for policy and practice.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for accurate, reliable and timely data to respond to people’s health needs. It has been described as a ‘watershed moment’ for healthcare technologies. At the same time, Covid-19 has highlighted the inequalities and inequities that underpin vulnerability during epidemics. Can digital health technologies be leveraged to address health inequities?

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Co-Founder of Peek Vision and Assistant Professor at LSHTM, Prof Sylvia Thun, Director of eHealth and Interoperability at Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Dr Manjari Mahajan, Starr Professor and Co-Director of the India China Institute at The New School, and Dr Henrik Matthies, Managing Director of Health Innovation Hub (HIH) will explore these and other questions including: What potential do technological advances have to improve access to, and the quality of, healthcare services? What challenges do digital technologies pose for healthcare service providers, regulators and patients? How can we promote an equitable digital health agenda?

About the Speakers

Digital health speakers
Dr Henrik Matthies

Dr Matthies is the Managing Director of the German Federal Ministry of Health’s health innovation hub (hih). The hih is think tank for and sparring partner to the Ministry as well as all other national stakeholders in Germany’s current transformation to a digitized healthcare system. Prior to that role, he was a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of several technology startups. His last venture, Mimi Hearing Technology, was one of the first apps to be CE-certified as a medical product in Europe. Mimi pioneered digital prevention in Germany to test and safeguard hearing with medical grade apps based on consumer technology equipment. He holds a Ph.D. from RWTH Aachen University, where he explored the interdependencies between offline and online user behavior.

Dr Andrew Bastawrous

Dr Bastawrous is an Ophthalmologist (Eye Surgeon), Associate Professor in International Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Co-Founder & CEO of Peek Vision. He has worked and undertaken research in over twenty countries including two years living in Kenya where he was leading a major eye disease study and the development and testing of Peek. In addition to his work as CEO of Peek, Andrew is also working with astrophysicists to crowdsource retinal data, with National Geographic explorers to reach isolated communities, and with artists and activists to advocate for eye care globally (Project Light). Andrew was recently voted one of the world’s 30 most influential people in public health, has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, is a TED Fellow, Rolex Laureate, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Ashoka Fellow and UBS Global Visionary.

Prof Sylvia Thun

Professor Sylvia Thun, MD, PhD is a full professor for information and communication technology in healthcare at the University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein and Visiting Professor at Charité, Berlin. Her main research areas are standardization and semantic interoperability. She previously worked at the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) and was responsible for eHealth, terminologies and drug information). She coordinates national and international projects (e.g. FP7 epSOS -cross-border healthcare in the EU, Horizon 2020 ASSESS CT, BMBF AKTIN , EUCANCAN). As vice chair of the DIN-NaMED Working Committee "Terminology", she is a delegate and expert at CEN 215 and ISO 215. Dr. Thun is chair of HL7 Germany as well as "Past User Chair" and "Caretaker Pharmacy" at IHE Germany.

Dr Manjari Mahajan

Dr Mahajan is Starr Professor and Co-Director of the India China Institute and an Associate Professor in the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at The New School. Her work lies at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies, Development Studies, and Anthropology. Her research and teaching are on the topics of global health, philanthrocapitalism, and digital governance. Much of her empirical focus has been on India and South Africa, and more recently, on global organizations such as the Gates Foundation and the WHO. She has held fellowships at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at Halle, Germany, and the Social Science Research Council in the United States. Her papers have received prizes from the Society for Social Studies for Science and the American Anthropological Association.

Please note that the time listed is British Summer Time (BST).


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The session will be recorded and made available after the event.


The LSHTM-Charité Global Health Lecture Series is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

LSHTM Berlin and Gates Foundation


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