AI app aims to improve health in developing world

An app based around artificial intelligence (AI) aims to help patients in countries with developing healthcare systems understand their symptoms and find appropriate treatment.

Ada, a free app that allows users to input details of symptoms so that they can be directed appropriate care, has been launched in several European languages to target those who may not be able to seek a face-to-face medical appointment.

Ada’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) is a series of major projects that focus on improving the availability and delivery of primary care in underserved populations worldwide

The app, which was set up by doctors, scientists and engineers, has forged a partnership with Fondation Botnar to become the first health guidance app to feature Swahili language integration.

This means more than 100 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa will be able to access the app.

Fondation Botnar is a Swiss organisation established to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing secondary cities globally. It invests in solutions that use AI and digital innovation.

It also plans to incorporate the Romanian language, accessing another group of people who have limited access to healthcare.

The app’s AI capability can track symptoms so that conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, among many others, can receive earlier intervention.

Approximately one third of Ada’s users come from rural and less developed healthcare markets, such as India, Asia and Africa.

GHI will collaborate with governments, NGOs and global health organisations to research, build and implement AI-led solutions to meet specific healthcare needs in lower- and middle-income countries.

The other partner is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will research the efficacy of AI-powered self-assessment technology in recommending specific diagnostic tests and improving patient outcomes for certain regions and diseases.

Through analysis of millions of self-assessment cases from Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and India, Ada will identify the diagnostic tests that, when combined with rigorous and accurate AI, could deliver the biggest impact in lower and middle-income countries.

It is hoped that the right diagnostic tests will support healthcare workers who are working in areas where malaria and tuberculosis, for instance, are rife.

The use of AI plus objective assessments could also significantly improve healthcare outcomes for patients, as well as potentially limiting the spread of disease epidemics through early identification.


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